Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Fiesta time again

Agia Eleousa  - the Merciful Madonna

Beginning of June was one of our bigger local church fiestas and outdoor market.  The little church, hidden away down a narrow lane,  attracts villagers from all the small towns around.  

First you kiss the icon, suitable decorated with flowers and a lacy doilly

Next you give some small coins and buy two or three candles.  These are lit for yourself, the health of those near and dear and the saviour of those departed.  They are planted in big containers of sand, allowed to burn a little and then snuffed out and collected to be melted down and reused

You may stay, standing outside, to listen to some of the church service or like us go straight onto the market, each searching for a bargain.  The men size up the fatted pig.  There are two or three stalls this year

Your choice piece of pig is hacked off right in front of your eyes, chopped up and wrapped in greaseproof paper to take home so all the family can continue the celebration with fatty pork, cold beers and some greek dancing in the front yard

Dessert will be some of these highly calorific but highly scrumptious fried dough balls covered in honey or nowadays chocolate sauce

Or you can choose a new pet, sold in a plastic bag full of water if you don't want to buy a plastic fish tank

Cow and sheep bells

Those with the money and the stamina choose a table on the sand at the tiny taverna and get ready for a long night and early morning of live Greek music.  The best table is in the front row next to the dance area

Cold cans of beer are sold here and a large piece of greaseproof paper will be plonked down on the table in front of you with however many kilos of roast pork you have ordered.  You'll have salt and pepper in a twist of kitchen paper, a few slices of bread and a small greek salad on a plastic plate, plastic forks provided.   All the empty cans go under the table.  Try not to use the loos.

If you live on the island you'll be ferried back and forth by small water taxis.

This is how it used to be. The live music, often with a well known traditional-greek singer, has always been extremely popular.  Even I have sat through a few of these 'concerts' over the years.  Before the crisis you would have someone sitting at a table and saving places for all of your friends because the chairs would soon all be full.  There is still a small crowd who enjoy the throbbing twang of bouzouki music and the chance to leap onto the dance floor.

For the last few years we haven't even inspected the pork.  We buy our own and put it in the oven ready for our return.  The outdoor market is getting smaller and smaller.  I used to buy pillows, summer shoes, a toy for all the grandchildren, a new bag, cutlery and crockery, garden tools. This year I bought 10 pairs of white sports socks for 5 euros. Shrewdly I bought them two sizes bigger because they shrank in the first wash. The most popular stall is the one marked 'all you buy 1 euro'.

You can tell how bad the crisis has hit us by the total lack of beggars.  Ten years ago the small lane leading up to the church would be crowded by beggars and gypsies with their hands out.  This year I took my camera to get a record of them all and there were none.  
Thin pickings around here.


  1. Our celebrations here in France usually involve roasted Lambs, rather than Pork. The Pork would make a pleasant change.

    1. After Easter lamb is off the menu here unless you know your butcher. A lot of fat, but then so has the pork.

      A grilled lamb chop would be a nice change for us

  2. Lamb and pork are not easy to find here, those are my son's favorites and i have to search for it long distance when he is here.It is so good that you know how to celebrate even in hard times.