Saturday, 30 April 2016

Good Friday

Today is a day of mourning.  No work is done today.  I cannot even sew on a button.  Shops and businesses open after midday when the church service has finished. However, it is alright for the men to sit at the cafes and drink ouzo till they are sloshed.  Drowning their sorrow no doubt. 

 At the morning service Christ is taken down from the Cross and placed on the flower bedecked bier.  The priest will then go on to the cemetary where for a few euros he will say a prayer over your dear departed.

K and I delivered our eggs and cookies to friends and neighbours.  I went across the water to Galatas on the car ferry to see our sinpethera (daughter's mother-in-law).  Coming back two car ferries were plying the straits because of the huge numbers of cars bringing in visitors for the long weekend.  Big BMW's, Range Rovers and Mercedes with darkened windows.  The rich are still rich and ever more will be so.  Every year I wonder at the sheer numbers of the city slickers' cars.  It is a wonder the island does not sink under the weight.

Church bells ring the death knoll slowly all day long and flags are at half mast.  In the evening we went up to the monastery for the candlelight parade.  The faithful carry plain brown beeswax candles tonight.  

Notice outside the monastery.

The peaceful monastery courtyard outside the church
The bier decked out in flowers being prepared for the procession

The girls, Danae and her sister-in-law wearing the aprons provided to cover up their trousers.

We carry lighted candles and follow the bier as it goes down to the beach and back up to the monastery.  In town the congregations of the three big churches and that of the Naval Base bring their biers down into the central square, the faithful following with their candles and the sombre tones of the municipal band.  There is a short service in the town and then they all return to their church.  The flowers from the bier are given to the crowd to take home and decorate their icons.

During the day it is a tradition to visit all the churches and the children pass under each of the biers three times to bring them good luck and health.

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