Heleni Achilleos is a performance storyteller, Educator and English language teacher. She is interested in moirologists/ professional mourners of Greece, how people mourn their dead, the rituals they use, and why they engage in them.
"While most know Mani, the center peninsula in Southern Greece, for its breathtaking cliffs and quaint coastal villages, it also is home to a tradition of ritual lament that dates back to ancient times. Considered an art, moirologia can be traced to the choirs of the Greek tragedies, in which the principal singer would begin the mourning and the chorus would follow.
The origins of this particular tradition go back to at least the eighth century B.C., and started with family and friends improvising laments during the prothesis, when the body was set out in its former residence. Over the centuries, it became a profession exclusive to women. Those who were especially adept at this improvisation, and could endure the physical and emotional traumas of the work, were hired by families to lead in the ritual lament." (Kalonaros, 2018)