Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Schools all over Greece opened for business today. Not for school but for a communal blessing.
The three island priests went from school to school this morning blessing pupils, teachers and parents. It is a short ceremony followed by a brief sermon telling the boys and girls to do their best. The Chief Big-wig then gave a, mercifully, short speech without a microphone so not sure what he was babbling on about. The Headmistress followed suit and told them that the school now had three new computers. That is probably the only thing any of the children remember. All the rest would have been blah, blah, blah until that magic word computer.
The three priests line up for business
She is far more than the 'tuck-shop lady'. She is their 'care-taker', knows all the children and their parents, and what is going down in the school. She is a motherhen, knows all the kids by name, stands at the gate when they leave making sure that each of the younger children has a parent or grandparent to go to and does not just wander off or be taken away by a stranger. She knows all of us as well and always has a smile and a happy greeting. Mari-Tess is a foreigner like me married to a greek.
All the Very important people lined up for show. This was only their second school, 2 more to go and then the kindergartens.
Part of the ceremony involves a bunch of basil. On the table are a lighted candle and an incense burner, a book of holy words (missal?), an icon of the Madonna and a bowl of holy water
And the Most important little people all lined up
The newbies with their teacher in the flowing robes and all their mothers standing protectively next to them
Papa Haralambos dipped his bunch of basil in the holy water and went from parent to parent sprinkling them all with Holy basil water. He held in his other hand a small icon of the Virgin Mary which everyone kissed after being blessed. The children were blessed en masse.
Wise words on the steps leading to the second level of the school. Interesting that they were in English
The good food pyramid drawn on one wall
After all that excitement it was time for mothers to have coffee at the 'green chairs' opposite the school. Those with older children could, and did, sit it out here and await their return.