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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

FIESTAS, NAME DAYS AND CELEBRATIONS photos and writing

Celebrating with Paul and Karen, Linda and Danae close right
a mid winter visit January 2015

the girls - Elli ,Danae and Karen


leftovers, giant beans (gigantes), fried fishes and duty free toblerone !!!!!!!!!




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The holy bones of Saint Barbara have arrived in Greece from Venice where they have been held for the last thousand years.  St Barbara, or part of her, was welcomed with state honours by the Archbishop of Greece and will be on display for two weeks before being returned to Venice in a frigate of the Greek Navy.  More than 200,000  so far have waited in long lines for hours every day to worship the relics. 

The lines outside the church of St Barbara in the suburb of St Barbara in Athens are made up of Greeks of every age and social status.  It is not just a crowd of the elderly or the lame.  Young and old, everyone is there waiting patiently.  There will be the usual prayers for health but also no doubt quite a few prayers for a job or a little wealth to ease the tax burden and quite a few pleas for a bit of commonsense and logic for our political leaders.

The church is at the same time collecting medicine, either those that people have at home and no longer need or medicines and supplies that they buy and donate.

Greece is green and warm and mainly dry.  If only this weather would continue for the rest of the summer.  May is the best month of the year to visit.  The weather is warm enough to sunbathe although the seas are cold.  And the temperatures are perfect for sightseeing.


May 20th is Lydia's name day  and May 21st is the fiesta of Saints Konstantinos and Eleni.  The name day of Kostas, daughter Elli (Eleni), sister in law Dina (Konstandina), Nels (another Eleni) and her other grandmother Eleni and a few other aunts and inlaws.


It used to be a HUGE celebration.  Pigs roasted on the spit, baking dishes of lamb and potatoes, crates of beer and barrels of wine. And crowds of locals, friends, relatives, neighbours and acquaintances who knew where they'd get a feed.  It would start about ten in the morning and go on till  the wee hours when someone would have to carry the main celebrater off to bed and I would try and get rid of the stragglers and start sweeping up the debris.

Everyone brought bottles of expensive whisky, the best ouzo, boxes of sticky cakes and even a few items of name brand clothing.  K usually gathered in enough whisky to set him up till his name day the following year.


This years party was a very modest affair.  We had  a  leg of lamb roasted in the oven.  This had been given us by a friend who has sheep and slaughtered some over easter.  Then  some roast potatoes, greek style with lots of lemon juice, garlic and oregano.  Tzatziki, greek salad and bread.  Wine only and that from a friend's barrel.  Ours is finished.  There was feta cheese as well but I forgot it and it stayed in the fridge and wasn't missed.  What a difference.  But 'everyone' had a good time.  A neighbour and his wife and a friend of mine plus a short visit from one of K's nephews with a son-in-law and a stopover by another neighbour on his way to someone else's party.  Good company and good wine, plus a few olives, that's all that is needed 'so they say'.....now.  And it turned out to be true.  It was even warm enough to sit outside surrounded by the grape vines on the balcony.

K still managed to get 2 bottles of whisky, one of ouzo and a box of sticky cakes.


Today June 3rd is a big fiesta across at a tiny church beneath the lemon forest on Galatas.  The road leading to Galatas is lined with stalls selling any sort of junk you could think of from knickers to toys to bags and underwear plus the 1 euro stall where everything's a bargain. Local entrepreneurs (I have no idea any longer how that word is spelled) cook whole spit roasted pigs which are dismembered and sold by the kilo, wrapped up in greasy paper.   And 'loukoumathes', a sort of donut fried and covered in runny honey syrup and cinnamon and even chocolate covered nowadays.  Yum.


Little water taxis load up and chug across full of people from around 5pm when the church service starts till the early hours when the music stops.  The little taverna there brings in a big name singer and sells their own roast pig and cans of beer.         We used to stay for a few hours and K probably still would if not for the economic crisis.  Chairs and tables are set up in the sand, beer is sold by the can, pig is served in grease proof paper with plastic forks and paper twists of slat and pepper.  You are supposed to go and light a candle at the church before starting your shopping or merry making.




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