March 15, 2012
In Greek mythology, Aeolus was the god of the winds and he had a daughter named Alcyone. She was happily married το Ceyx, they were living in Trachis and they were often calling each other “Zeus” and “Hera”.
This angered Zeus, the King of the Gods, who threw a thunderbolt at Ceyx’s ship. When Alcyone was informed for her beloved ill fate, she threw herself into the sea. Out of compassion, the gods changed them both into birds named after her.
These birds, commonly associated with the kingfisher, were said to nest on the sea. Alcyone used to make her nest on the beach for seven days each year. Her father use to restrained the winds and calm the waves so she could lay her eggs in safety.
Until our times, those days are called Halcyon Days, a bright interval set in the midst of the winter.
It seems that this year (winter 2011-2012), Alcyon decided to use central heating and Halcyon days skipped Greece !
As a result this winter was very cold with rain and snow. No sunny intervals have occured as it’s seen in the pictures above!
February 20, 2012
Last Thursday was a day of celebration in Greece. Nothing miraculous happened, it was just “Tsikonpempti” which literally means “The Thursday that the burning meat smell is in the air”! “Tsikna” stands for smell of burning meat and “Pempti” means Thursday.
It’s the day during the carnival season that several portions of meat and other grisy delicacies are grilled on charcoal until they have a strong odour!
This happens every second Thursday before the Lent and it’s similar to Fat Thursday in Germany and Poland, Giovedì Grasso in Italy, Jueves Lardero in Spain. It’s also equivalent to Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras.
Not just every house but practically every town are full of the “tsikna” smell. It is the day the vegetarians hate the most, alongside with Easter Sunday!
Every kind of meat is being cooked over hot coals. It is a great occasion for social gathering in a taverna night out or dinner parties with friends and family that usually last until late at night.
For us this year’s Tsiknopempti menu included “souvlakia” (pork and chicken kabobs and pita gyros.
And at the end of the night we wish to each other “Kai tou chronou” which means “Let’s celebrate next year too”!
April 22, 2011
Maundry Thursday always brings Greek people to their neighborhood churches. Many of them are cute, small buildings and bring each other closer. That day of the year, Jesus on the cross is always at first sight.