Tou Asotou..The Feast of the Prodigal Son, the second Sunday before Lent in the Orthodox calendar. That was last Sunday. Another celebration my husband looks forward to every year.
Most know the parable of the younger son who demanded his inheritance and then went off and squandered it on wine, women and song. He returns home with his tail between his legs and instead of being cast out is welcomed by his father who 'kills the fatted calf'.
Greek men, the ones in my neighbourhood, celebrate this day as the Feast of all 'naughty boys'. Just one day in many of their celebrations. K says prodigal sons celebrate for 6 months before their fiesta and six months afterwards.
I say he's too old to be a prodigal son and should leave it to his grandchildren. Yet he's never too old for celebration and jubilation.
The men gather to drink wine, gossip (men gossip so much more than women!), argue vehemently, consider, debate and deliberate. Talking makes them thirsty and very hungry. And you never drink without eating something to soak up the alcohol.
The meze is usually meat, a piece of roasted pig, lamb chops or a rooster, slow boiled and stewed with tomatoes.
They don't each have a big plate in front of them. A meze is a communal plate with chunks of meat from which they cut small fragrant mouthfuls and smother in mustard or tzatziki. Some aromatic feta cheese, bread, a tomato doused in olive oil, a jug of wine, and no wives around to nag, makes for happy boys.
At the end of it all they stagger out to their motorbikes and weave their way home, as is the custom here