15th August is the biggest holiday in Greece. Far more important than Xmas or New Year, maybe not Easter.
It's midsummer, an important church festival and this year, after years of quarantine, it's a 3 day holiday weekend that everyone can enjoy. Greece has gone on vacation and a huge number have chosen our little island.
It's the commemoration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in other words when she died. The Orthodox acknowledge her ascension to heaven with great celebration. The cities are emptied as everyone goes back to their village or island, their family or simply to enjoy a bit of summer fun. The islands, especially those in the Cyclades, are filled to overflowing.
Little blue and white chapels, large cathedrals, any church dedicated to the Virgin are decked out in flags and flowers. Festivities continue for days with feasting, music and a lot of sea bathing, coffee and family reunions.
It's the name day of anyone named after her, names like Mary, Maria, Despina, Panayiota and for men Panayiotis and Marios.
Poros is overcrowded with tourists, Greek and foreign. There is a constant stream of quad bikes and cars down to our local beach. The roar of those quad bikes interrupts our siesta. Downtown every tiny space is occupied by a parked car and still the car ferries bring more.
We left the house early to find parking, pick up a box of sweet cakes for our own Panayiota who we will visit this evening.
Today's 'harvest fruits'
Figs, really sweet, and tasty organic tomatoes, local wine and oil and a box of cakes to take to the name day dinner
Thank goodness we came down early. The sticky cakes were already disappearing from the bakery even at 9.30am . Parking spaces were limited but by leaving the tail of the car slightly exposed we managed to squeeze into a space under a tree, ensuring us shade and a cool car when we returned.
On the way down a neighbour and good friend stopped us to give us a 2litre bottle of his own olive oil. Before we made the cafeteria another friend stopped and handed us bags of figs and tomatoes. He went away and came back with three bottles of his wine which he left in the back of the car, unlocked of course.
We spent a couple of hours drinking coffee and later beer and when I went in to pay discovered that one of the other friends at our table had beaten me to it.
We were blessed by the Madonna methinks .
The island of Tinos is packed with pilgrims this weekend, waiting to light a candle, give blessing or pray for a miracle and touch the miraculous icon at this church
Many pilgrims (women) crawl almost a kilometre in the blazing sun from the harbour to this church dedicated to Our Lady of Tinos to touch the icon and ask for a blessing or favour.
Over 40 years ago Panayiota, the mother of our son in law, did just this and carried him up those last steep steps on her back, to pray for his good health. That was over 40 years ago. He's healthy and married to our daughter and has given us all 2 grandchildren. She thinks it was worth every step, even though her knees were bloody and torn by the time she reached the church.
A Greek mother
Goodness me. Crawling on your knees for good health. Sounds quite brutal.ReplyDelete
It is. Nowadays they at least wear knee pads but she was determined to show that she would do anything for her child. He had some sort of blood trouble, couldn't quite understand it. But as a baby he had a blood transfusion a few days after birth. Nowadays its all sorted out with injections.ReplyDelete
Even just walking (not crawling) for long distances, without protecting the knees can, do a lot of harm to them.ReplyDelete
Hmm that's probably part of the reason she needs knee ops now.Delete
Yes, the 15th is a big deal! I was talking to my friend, Katherine, and she asked if I was going to the service tomorrow (this was on Sunday), and I said I’m not sure, as I had already planned on attending today. Ever the Greek Orthodox Nouna, she admonished me. I ended up going of course :-). Her big smile when she saw me sit next to her was worth it! I would love to be in Greece for the Dormition service someday…..ReplyDelete
Enjoy all those goodies!
Huge celebrations but remember , mid summer, it's hot. Though you're used to heat. Tinos, Paros and Ikaria have huge celebrationsDelete
It sounds an idyllic lifestyle.ReplyDelete
Not idyllic but not bad eitherDelete
Wow. I love how everyone shares their harvest with one another.ReplyDelete
I think I’d love to live in a village just like yours.
Maybe it’s my genetics lol
I have heard of the practice of crawling to the church. I think if I needed to as a favour I’d invest in some knee pads. Would that be cheating?
All those 'fruits' were totally unexpected. The neighbour with the oil was on the way to get a few bottles for his own house when we stopped to say 'goodmorning'. Very good friends.Delete
As for the crawling, Nota was determined to suffer. She told me with pride when I saw her that evening that other women had their knees bound up so they were protected but she refused to. She's so proud of her son now . He's a great guy. Good son in law
15th August is also the French National Day. We stayed home feeling extremely tired and listless. Oh how I wish that someone would give me bottles of home made Olive Oil. We'd need to live a lot further South.ReplyDelete
I have realised, slowly, that all of catholic europe have huge celebrations. It's a good time, mid summer, when many are on holiday. A time for revelling before the harsh winter.Delete
We were very lucky with that oil. We had just finished the last of ours and would have had to buy some
You are clearly well loved in your community. It is certainly a day of great generosity and F enjoyed a Panagia feast with a Greek family on Salamina. (No one suggested crawling anywhere tho, fortunately!)ReplyDelete
Everyone likes K. He does what he can for others and they repay him many times over. He just loves it!Delete
Boy do these people know how to feast. We went out to a taverna with our Panayiota and the a dozen of the family. K didn't wwant to eat, late evening meals give him indigestion. But they all cried out 'but you must', 'faei faei'. He ate very little so they put it all in a container and made us bring it back with us. Ok with me. Some of the leftovers were lunch again today
How lovely that your friends gave you fresh produce. And paid for your drinks too. I don't know if I'd crawl a kilometre on me knees for anything!ReplyDelete
These older women had a different way of thinking, specially this one. Though some of the younger ones do the crawling but now they have knee pads and special gloves. The icon is supposed to help you conceive and I guess if you're desparate you'll do it, because......maybeDelete
You can't beat homemade olive oil, the bottles in shops just don't taste the same. My sister and brother in law use to own shares in an olive grove in their property subdivision, they gave us some one year and boy was it powerfully delish.ReplyDelete
A shared harvest …lovelyReplyDelete
Unexpected gifts, so appreciated!Delete
Lovely to be given the oil, tomatoes and figs. My goodness sounds like there would be no standing room on your island when all those people arrive. I suspect your son in law would be a good man regardless of his mother crawling all that distance.ReplyDelete