Friday, 23 December 2011

Deck the Halls

the first snow on the Taygetos Mountains above Sparti
Minas has been telling me for quite a while now that Greece is not so big on Christmas. Easter is the time of the year for festivities, he says. Of course, that just might be to avoid any participation in Christmas shopping - an activity he is not too fond of. Gifts? Bah, humbug!!
It is quite true that I have not felt any stress with the upcoming season, but that is more likely due to the fact that it is just me and Minas - no family, no friends no snow, no Canadian rituals of carols and sweets, no trees, or stockings or lights - well hardly any that is.
I had better watch it here or I am likely to fall into the blues. So, instead, I am searching for Christmas in any of its forms, here in Greece. Just sing Deck the Halls to yourself while you look at the pictures. 

large blue tree in a small platia in Sparti

 But perhaps Elvis might come to mind. Anyone for a "Blue Christmas"?
Sparti has embraced the notion in several sizes - megalo and micro.   
small blue trees at the main intersection of Sparti

dried flowers high on the cliff in Monemvasia

Just what do these have to do with Christmas? Well, there were masses of these dried flowers covering the cliff-side above the rocky island town of Monemvasia. I picked -- a lot! And now they adorn my Christmas tree and they look like this.....

Monemvasia flowers with berries and rose hips on our tree

a small table top creche outside a taverna in Aghios Petras

 And the Greeks haven't forgotten the real meaning of Christmas in their nativity scenes both small and humble and....................................

a life sized manger scene in the square of Sparti

 life sized and ornate!

And what signs of Christmas do we have here in "the independent republic of Karyes" as Minas calls it?

We have trees.........

Sophia's tree in her cafenion

Aphrodite's tree in her grocery market

and we have lights.................

The platia in Karyes at night
and of course we have really friendly folks that meet and greet you with "Kales Yortes", that happy holiday greeting.

So my search brings me right back home, for that is where you always find Christmas.
For weeks now, I have had that old Bing Crosby (or was it Frank Sinatra?) Christmas song on my mind - the one with the line " on my own front door". The rest of the lyrics are buried in some forgotten place in my brain but here indeed is my own front door.

And today, December 23rd, it snowed here in Karyes so we will have a white Christmas after all.

the road out of Karyes

Merry Christmas one and all!

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