December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas everybody!

Thanks everybody for reading the site during the last year, and sticking with us when we had a break from blogging. We'd especially like to thank everybody who took the trouble to send us cards and presents over to us in Greece. It is lovely to have Christmas just the two of us, but we do miss everybody terribly, and your cards and gifts make a real difference.

Happy holidays wherever you are, and whatever you are doing.

Xmas tree presents

December 24, 2007

Christmas lights in Chania town

We had quick trip round town looking at the Christmas lights before going out for dinner on Friday night.

Outside the Municipal Market there is a large tree, and a nativity scene flanked by brightly lit angels.

Chania market Xmas tree

Chania's angel of lights

There are also various ships made of fairy lights around town, presumably out of respect for Saint Nicholas.

Christmas lights during the day

For dinner we had some very strong Mojitos at Hippopotamus first - real headache inducers actually - and then went to Konaki. Konaki is a bit of a favourite as it was the first place we ate in Chania. We've recently celebrated two years since we left the UK, so it seemed appropriate.

There is much less on the menu in the winter - our host dismissively waved away a couple of pages saying this was tourist stuff he didn't have anymore. Claire went for lamb, I had baby goat in olive oil and wine, and for our pudding alongside the raki and some cake we got a massive plate of fruit. It was a very nice way to lead into the home-made gluttony of the festive season!

On the twelth day of Christmas...

The 6th January brings an end to the Dodekaimera.

Dodekaimera, or the 12 Days of Christmas, run from Christmas Day on 25 December to the Epiphany on 6 January.

The Greeks refer to 6 January as Ta Phota (meaning The Lights) - the Epiphany. The Ayiasmos service is held and, especially on the islands, priests throw a cross into the sea, while young men dive in after it. The man who retrieves the cross is blessed. Though for Greek Orthodox Christians who still follow the old calander, this is Christmas Day.

December 23, 2007

Oh lucky day!

Stbasil While most of us are nursing our hangovers on New Years Day, the children of Greece are waking up full of beans, excited to see what Ayios Vasilis has brought them. While Saint Nicolas is thanked for protecting sailors, Saint Basil takes on the role of the Greek 'Santa Claus'.

This first day of the new year is when the Renewal Ceremony is performed. All of the water jugs in the house are emptied and replenished with St Basil holy water. Also known as Saint Basil Day, New Years Day is the luckiest day of the year. While some Greeks buy lottery tickets, others play cards in the local kafenion in the hope that luck is on their side.

A lemon tree of our own

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