Fiesta day of Agios Georgios
Saint George Patron Saint of England
The dragon Slayer
Name day in Greece of any male named Georgios or female with the name of Georgia.
Usually celebrated on April 23 but if this day falls during Lent the fiesta takes place on the Monday after Easter.
The first church on the island is dedicated to St George so it is decked out in flags and inside there are lace doilies and flowers decorating the icon of the Saint and the church. This morning the icon will be taken outside with pomp and circumstance and paraded around the Mitropoli (cathedral) accompanied by the municipal band, the usual bigwigs, chanters and half a dozen visiting priests. The bells will peal joyfully and can be heard over most of the island.
The church will be open all day and anyone who did not attend the morning or previous evening service will pass by to light a candle.
Our oldest grandson and many of our friends celebrate their name days today. The older generation will go to church this morning and take with them a loaf of bread with the Holy stamp which will be blessed in the church and handed out in small pieces after the service. They will probably also bring along five sweet loaves (representing the miracle of the five loaves, without the fish, which fed the five thousand) which are also blessed and handed out.
Our young teenage George is still sleeping on our couch after a long night of computer games and an overdose of ice-cream.
This evening K will go and visit two or maybe three of his friends who celebrate today. Two of them are roasting lambs on the spit once again. It is going to be a long night.
On name days there are no invitations. Friends and relatives either phone with a 'Kronia Polla', literally 'many years' or just turn up at the house bringing a small gift. In the olden days the right gift to bring a man was a bottle of whisky. Now it is often a bottle of ouzo or maybe a box of sticky cakes, and flowers for the Georgias.
Any villages named after the Saint will have two or even three day celebrations with dancing, singing, a communal feast and a market around the edges of the panagyri (festival).