All Souls Saturday, a week before Lent.
We had a memorial service to attend so we went to church
K got there at 8, I arrived at 9.15. The priest started at 7. I knew it was too early but I thought I might get some flak if I arrived any later. You can wander in and out of these services at any time though if it is a close family memorial then you're probably there by 8 and sitting up front. The church in the graveyard is quite small so not many can squeeze inside. There was a bitter wind blowing and those outside were chilled, standing around in little groups or sitting on one of the big marble graves. I stood out there for an hour before it was over. But there were friends and relatives around and we had a chat and a laugh
A table set up outside has the paper bags lined to to fill with funeral wheat which is handed out as you leave
Lucky her father didn't see her!!
Lucky he didnt see me either. He doesnt like me taking photos at church but now with these smart phones I can take pictures without him knowing.
The guy in the doorway is an old friend of the girls. He's showing how you try and look pious!
Having a 'silent' laugh and a quiet gossip passes the time.
I never know what to do in church, just stand up and sit down as others do, though some don't which makes it a bit of a puzzle. I look down at the floor when the priest comes out and covers us in incense and just try to look pious when everyone else is crossing themselves and I'm not.
I did pop into the church to get warmed up at some point and tried to take some photos inside but there were too many bodies in the way. The table here was full of bowls of 'koliva' (the funeral wheat), each with a lit candle in it. Anyone who wants to remember their dear departed can make a bowl and take it to church to be blessed.
There were 4 chanters up the front who accompanied our priest. One of the chanters has the service on his phone and we all watch him flicking through his phone. Show off. The others are chanting from the traditional church tomes sitting on stands in front of them.
There were 4 memorial services
This was the decorated tray of wheat from one of them
On All Souls Saturday the names of ALL the departed who have been remembered during the year are read out. The priest has gathered all the names, on a stack of little bits of paper, and reads them all out. He drones on and on for about 15 minutes.
This is the funeral wheat called koliva.
It is a mix of boiled wheat, raisins, parsley, coconut, powdered sugar, pomegranite seeds and ours had chopped figs as well.
Inside the big bag with the cross is a small white paper bag with the koliva, a plastic spoon and napkin and a sweet roll.
After the church we go to the cafe nearby for coffee, a liqueur (or two) and some sweet cookies. We drink and try not to be too merry after the liqueur and then file past the family, shake hands and wish that their loved one will remembered with love
This guy came home with us for the family meal after the memorial. He made us laugh more than ever. Who is he?
He buries the dead and entertains the living. A real people person