Tag Archives: Parakila

Κλήδονα – a Traditional Greek Rite

Festival8

We heard that there was to be some sort of local celebration in the village square, we assumed it would be linked to one or more saints – these things often are, and given the date had a connection to John the Baptist.  We were told there would be live music and dancing and jumping over fires.  Jumping over fires we are familiar with, this happens in Turkey earlier in the year.  Anyway, we thought it would be fun to head up to the square, eat at the taverna, drink some beer, and watch the events unfold.

Fortunately a friend, Simon, had booked a table.  We’d have been squeezed in somewhere but this was nearer the front and not indoors.  So we settled down to chat and watch, chat for a while because nothing much was happening yet, and nothing much would happen until the sun went down.

What we witnessed was quite strange.  Two figures draped in cloth and clearly unable to see were led into the square by groups of women, some in traditional dress.  The figures were then seated and some sort of conversation or ritual took place between representatives.  This was all in Greek, it was clearly poetic, and had elements of humour.  One woman would say something, then there would be a retort, and this continued back and forth for some time.  We had no idea what the content was but it was fascinating to watch.  What was clear it that it was clearly female thing so probably not as linked to John the Baptist as we initially thought. After much applause the draped figures were led away.

Then there was traditional music and dancing.  The dancing is familiar to us, it is very similar in Turkey.  Same clothing, similar steps, but more mixing of male and female, so definitely not traditional Turkish where that would not happen.  The music was particularly good, and we learned that the musicians were considered to be some of the best on the island.

At the same time three fires were lit on the street and there was some sort of traditional fire jumping.  This was mostly children.  Some would just jump over one fire, others who were more brave ran down the street and jumped each in succession.  It was all watched carefully by adults and there were water extinguishers suitably placed just in case.  Nothing unfortunate or bad happened, the children seem to have lots of fun.

Afterwards the musicians continued and there was more dancing.  By this time we were very full of food, the taverna had kept up a supply to all the tables which must have taken some doing given how many tables there were many of which were piled up with plates for food.  Needless to say the beer, wine and ouzo were also flowing.

Towards the end we were given a rolled up sheet with more details on what the earlier rite was about and an apology because it was all in Greek.  More on this in a future post – Hilary translated it.

The evening ended rather abruptly when there was an orange glow in the sky from a field on fire and some ash being carried into the village.  This caused some concern but it appeared the local fire service dealt with it quickly and no great harm was done.

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Our Lesbian House

Well, it took us enough time to write up the Central American trip so we’re really behind on what we’ve been doing the rest of 2017.  We have, in fact, been very busy.  We blogged about our trip to Akyaka and our travels since then (apart from a brief trip to see family in the UK) have been in Greece.

There was a plan to look around with a view to buying a property in Greece at some point in the next two years.  We ended up putting in an offer on the first place we saw.  That was back in June when we went to Lesvos for Ashley’s birthday.  We spent some time looking around the Island on our own and attempted to contact a number of Estate Agents.  Only one of whom got back to us.  She took us to see two properties.  One of which we liked a lot.  We went back to our studio apartment in Skala Kallonis, then off to the bar to talk about it.  We decided we liked the place too much to let it go.  So, the next morning, we put in an offer.  The vendor (a very pleasant retired teacher living in Yorkshire) said she would accept that if we would also pay towards her expenses.  This came down to well within the maximum we had agreed between ourselves so…

We bought a house in Greece.

The house is in Parakila – a village with a population of about 2000.  It has a couple of bakers and a couple of general stores and a supermarket, a petrol station a bar and a taverna.  It has two churches (one of which is very old and one of which is modern).  The old one is right opposite our house so there is little chance of sleeping late in the morning – the bells start at 7 a.m.  It is 11 Km from Kalloni which has a far wider array of shops including butchers, cheese shops and really big supermarkets.

The house has a lot of land – probably the best part of half an acre – on two terraces.  It has vines in the front garden and bitter oranges and sweet oranges and a pomegranate tree.  It also has a dead goat (under an apple tree).  And it has an amazing view…

When the moon is full it turns the entire bay into silver.  And there is very little light pollution so, when the sky is clear, you can see the milky way and thousands upon thousands of stars.