Tuesday, 16 August 2022
Festivals and 'Fruits'
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