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Sunday, 5 March 2017

ROAD SIDE SHRINE

Proskinitaria

Driving around the island you will notice these shrines, big and flash, small and rusty, on the sides of the road.  Usually they have been placed at the site of an accident to remember the victim but sometimes they are also built as thanks for their survival.


This elaborate shrine is on the side of our mountain road.  Someone comes every summer and paints and cleans the monument, leaves fresh flowers and has done for the more than twenty years.


My sister-in-law has one on the roadside above her farm in the hills so she can go in the evening, light a candle, cleanse her spirit with a waft of incense and say 'thank you' for another day gone by.

The main part of the shrine is a box with a glass window and inside you will find an incense burner, a simple lamp or candle, a small bottle of oil for the lamp and maybe an icon of a saint or photo of a victim.  The lamp is usually a simple bowl of olive oil with a wick floating in it.

The lamp is lit as often as possible, daily during the first 40 days of mourning.  Anyone may stop, light the candle or lamp and say a prayer.





This is a memorial to a young diver drowned off the coast in the sea behind the shrine


A shrine to a young man killed in a motorbike accident


The next two are shrines from times gone by.  Family members do remember them now and again and inside you'll notice a flickering candle.  





Most of the shrines are made by hand or commissioned according to the family's instructions but they can also be bought ready made from most garden centres or building suppliers.


These three crosses are painted on the bank opposite one of our small churches.  Often you'll see crosses like this painted to make you aware that there is a church in the area.


This beautiful shrine is in the mountains in Northern Greece.  We stopped here to take in the view.  It is a beautiful place to sit, breathe the fresh mountain air and enjoy the scenery.




15 comments:

  1. Very interesting, good to know that some of the shrines are thanks for survival and thanks for another day gone by.
    Ah so anyone can light a candle and say a prayer.
    Good to know that crosses on the stone mean a church is nearby, and not a tally of people squashed as I thought!.
    Very interesting.

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    1. In nz they put up white wooden crosses on the side of the road where people have died. Quite sobering

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  2. Having the shrines at the roadside as well as paying respect must save lives. I know I was very wary walking or pooling back on a moped to the room. Seeing lit up shrines.

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    1. Actually most are for young guys who have died in bike accidents...but for all that the number of fatal accidents is very few. Just looks a lot but most of them are very old.
      The cemetery is worse with all the flickering lights at night. One of my friends lives right above it. Don't how she can live there

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  3. The ones I've visited always looked like the blue painted one at the garden centre. Just a plain white room with a domed roof. Inside there were occasionally some bones in a box, and always the incense ready to be lit.

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    1. Bones in a box?? The mind boggles! Maybe the family cat had been laid to rest there. I must question my sis in law. Maybe there's something I've missed.

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    2. K says maybe it was the little box of charcoal they use to light the incense but that's pushing it

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  4. We have this here at a lower level. it is normally a car or bike crash, a make shift shrine appears, flowers tapped to a telephone pole or I saw the other day a football shirt stapled to the tree and flowers below. I prefer the Greek shrines.

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    1. Quite often there will be some sort of a blessing at the site of an accident, 9 days or 40 days later and then the shrine goes up.

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  5. I see road shrines all over Ireland. Cars kill thousands world wide every year.

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    1. I googled to see your shrines. Beautiful and more elaborate. Your tradition goes back hundreds of years too. Interesting reading.

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  6. We get them here as well. I think not only do they help the family of those that died but they remind others to slow down and take care

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    1. In NZ they just put white crosses, one for each victim. It certainly does let know about a dangerous corner or piece of road. Dont want to add any more!!

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  7. Proskinitaria, a new addition to my vocabulary. Around here there are accident sites where bunches of flowers are left, sometimes little wooden crosses which are left for a while, but then the 'Council' clears them away. No doubt planning permission would be needed for a little shrine and that would never be granted.

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    1. Quite a tongue twister! Reminds me of some surnames which have 15 letters in them. Glad I married a 6 letter man, although the Tz baffles people...it's a 'j', not in the greek alphabet.
      I've gone way off course as usual!!!
      Planning permission! What next. I suppose they're on government land as well. Laws laws laws

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