Σάββατο, 4 Μαΐου 2013

Time Migrants and the Greek Easter

musing in Hotel Papanikola
musing in Hotel Papanikola
It is already Great Friday and I am still in Athens. As it seems I will have this year's Easter in the big city. It's very hard for me to relate with that. Let me explain you and you will see in the following lines the reason Easter is so important to us Greeks, maybe more than Christmas season .
Most Greeks consider Easter days,
with a rejuvenating spring break in village, with big family gatherings at yiayia's house ( even though, many times this village house is a real small one), meeting relatives and neighbors coming inside all day long,  enjoying altogether super powered greek coffee, or if it's after 11:00 definitely for a few glasses of homemade wine or tsipouro and definitely some meze* food treats accompanying wine /ouzo/ tsipouro ) . Easter season seems to become the best part of our year, because it helps us to refresh memories from childhood and in that way, for some cases to redefine ourselves as individuals. Bringing memories of  the past when children were only looking forward for the fireworks of Resurrection night ( in greek: Anastasi ), or to finally have the chocolate eggs  that the older gave to children the earlier with the term not to open until the Easter Sunday, or even better than that, at the Easter Sunday lunch anticipating for the moment to start compete in tsougrisma, which is  red dyed eggs tapping* (in Greek: kokkina avga, pronounced KOH-kee-nah ahv-GHAH) all that along with traditional music and traditional season's delicacies like the roasted lamb.
You can get a general idea of Greek Easter in the following video on Youtube and Maria Menounos having tsougrisma with her parents.
As these days are related to introspection, deep thoughts and childhood memories flashing, one specific thought is keep bouncing in my head: the power of family in our personal lives. I feel that these first mutual family moments are so strong, that they actually helped us, since our early ages, to shape the form and the general idea of the kind of relationship we will follow. It is like "keeping these references for future use". More than that, the strong combination of family and tradition ( religious or not, it doesn't matter )  defines our connection with our home country.
Now understand very well , how much Greek migrants in the 60s  and today, have missed and have felt, mainly for the first years, in a foreign country, with nothing to connect with. Maybe this is the reason why Greek migrants built so vivid, large communities out there, creating new "homelands" and regenerating aged customs of tradition in a new more international form making other non-Greeks to adopt them as well!
Today, thanks to all those brave Greek migrants and their family oriented lifestyle that they still keep up with while adopting new features in it, we proudly say that Greece extends to all 7 continents in thousands of new different faces.
We will find a piece of Greece, a piece of us, everywhere. In places we have never thought about ! Let's all keep that in mind, and mostly me, that we can find ourselves in the most unexpected places!
Besides, not to forget that sometimes, rejuvenating comes while dealing with the past, helping us the most to reform the present.
Kali Anastasi to all.
Maria Hatzigeorgiadou

meze* : Different kinds of food is served usually in small dishes, accompanying ouzo, wine, tsipouro, when everyone is picking his bit from the same dishes. Vivian Wolters can give you an idea experiencing the idea of meze .

red dyed eggs*: the brightest symbol of Greek Easter, representing the blood of Christ and rebirth.The tradition says that whoever has his egg unbreakable, he will be lucky for the rest of the year.Get the recipe in

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