Leda & the Swan

One of Zeus' love was for Leda, the daughter of King Thestius of Aetolia. She was given in marriage to a young man called Tyndareus. He had come to Aetolia seeking refuge after being forced from the throne of Sparta.

Unbeknownst to Tyndareus, Leda was carrying on an affair with Zeus during the course of their marriage. The god would come to her regularly donning the shape of a swan, and before long Leda realized she was pregnant. She went on to give birth to four children in a most unusual way.

Leda laid two eggs; from one hatched Castor and Clytemnestra, who were fathered by Tyndareus and mortal. From the other egg hatched Helen and Polydeuces, who were fathered by Zeus and therefore half divine. Both Helen and Clytemnestra became famous for their roles in the Trojan War. Castor and Polydeuces went on to become well respected warriors known as the Discouri. They were later placed in the among the stars as the constellation Gemini.

Leda and the Swan

Leda & the swan by Yeats

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?And how can body, laid in that white rush,

But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof
and tower And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up, so mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Where the slow river meets the tide,
a red swan lifts red wings and darker beak,
and underneath the purple downof his soft breast uncurls his coral feet.
Through the deep purple of the dying heat of sun and mist,
the level ray of sun-beam has caressed the lily with dark breast, and flecked with richer gold its golden crest.
Where the slow lifting of the tide, floats into the river and slowly drifts among the reeds,
and lifts the yellow flags, he floats where tide and river meet.
Ah kingly kiss--no more regret nor old deep memoriesto mar the bliss;
where the low sedge is thick, the gold day-lily outspreads
and rests beneath soft fluttering of red swan wings
and the warm quivering of the red swan's breast.


Greece's Mainland consists of the following regions:

ATTICA (ATHENS): Athens, East Attica, Piraeus, West Attica
CENTRAL GREECE/STEREA ELLADA: Evia, Evritania, Fokida, Fthiotida, Viotia
EPIRUS/IPIROS: Arta, Ioannina, Preveza, Thesprotia
THESSALIA: Karditsa, Larisa, Magnisia, Trikala
PELOPONISSOS: Arkadia, Argolida, Korinthia, Lakonia, Messinia, Achaia, Ilia

MACEDONIA (click to read)

CENTRAL MACEDONIA/KENTRIKI MAKEDONIA: Thessaloniki, Khalkidhiki, Imathia, Kilkis, Pella, Pieria, Serres
WESTERN MACEDONIA/DITIKI MAKEDONIA: Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, Kozani

The Greek islands form many groups of islands, some of which are described below:

ARGOSARONIC ISLANDS: Aggistri, Aegina, Poros, Spetses, Hydra Salamina and the coastal area of Methana
NORTHERN AEGEAN ISLANDS: (Vorio Egeo): Agios Efstratios, Thasos, Ikaria, Lesvos, Limnos, Inousses, Samos, Samothrace, Chios, PsaraVorio Egeo: SPORADES: Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros
Notio Egeo:
CYCLADES: Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros, Tinos, Folegandros. “Minor Cyclades”:Donousa, Irakleia, Koufonisia and Schinoussa
Notio Egeo:
DODECANESE: Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Thasos, Kastelorizo, Kos, Lipsi, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Rodos/Rhodes, Symi, Tilos, Halki
CRETE: Chania, Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethimno
IONIAN ISLANDS: Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Cephallonia, Lefkada, Paxi, Antipaxi, Ereikoussa, Mathraki, Meganissi, Othoni, Strofades. Kythira,Antikythira.
Gavdos (situated south of Crete), Elafonissos (in the Gulf of Laconia) and Trizonis (in the Gulf of Corinth)

Did you know that there is a list of 1400 islands, out of which 227 are inhabited. Only 78 have more than 100 inhabitants.

To open a big map of Greece click here

Theatre in Greece

Theatre was born in Attica, an Ionic region of Greece. It originated from the ceremonial orgies of Dionysos but soon enough its fields of interest spread to various myths along with historic facts. As ancient drama was an institution of Democracy, the great tragic poets Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, as well as the comedian Aristophanes, elevated public debate and political criticism to a level of aesthetic achievement. Euripides and the ethologist Menander, in Hellenistic times and later on during the Roman domination, reached a beau ideal level and through the Romans managed to form the theatre of the West, from the Renaissance and thereafter.

Ancient Theater of Asklepiou Epidavros considered one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture – date from the 4th century. During the Byzantine period, theatre officially sleeps, but in the underground continues its course and puts its seal to the Christian Orthodox Mass. Turkish domination puts a tombstone to theatre, but the foundations of theatrical tradition are finally laid in Crete and the Ionian Islands during the Venetian occupation, with plays like "Erophile" of Chortatzis and "Vasilikos" of Matesis. The Age of Enlightenment and the Greeks of the Diaspora create the bedrock of theatre after the liberation of Greece. The 19th century is influenced by Romanticism and Neoclassicism, expressed by the purist Greek language. Demoticism proposes three ingenious and mixed styles: operetta, romantic drama and revue, a mockery of the social ethics.
The first plays were performed with just one actor (called a protagonist) and a chorus of people who helped him to tell the story. However, throughout the 5th century BC playwrights continued to innovate. The playwright Aeschylus added a second speaking role, called the antagonist, and reduced the chorus from 50 to 12. His play 'The Persians', first performed in 472 BC, is the oldest surviving of all Greek plays.

His pupil, Sophocles went on to add a third actor, while Euripides added both a prologue, introducing the subject of the play, and the deus ex machina, a divine figure who wrapped up any loose ends at the close. Wealthy citizens would sponsor plays by paying a tax called the choregia. And just like Pisistratus, the tyrant who established the 'City Dionysia' to enhance his own popularity, many of these wealthy patrons hoped the success of the play they sponsored would provide them with a way into politics.
The first plays were performed in the Theatre of Dionysus, built in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century, but theatres proved to be so popular they soon spread all over Greece. Drama was classified according to three different types or genres: comedy, tragedy and satyr plays. The Ancient Greeks took their entertainment very seriously and used drama as a way of investigating the world they lived in, and what it meant to be human.

The three genres of drama were comedy, satyr plays, and most important of all, tragedy.
Comedy: The first comedies were mainly satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness. The first master of comedy was the playwright Aristophanes. Much later Menander wrote comedies about ordinary people and made his plays more like sit-coms.
Tragedy: Tragedy dealt with the big themes of love, loss, pride, the abuse of power and the fraught relationships between men and gods. Typically the main protagonist of a tragedy commits some terrible crime without realizing how foolish and arrogant he has been. Then, as he slowly realizes his error, the world crumbles around him. The three great playwrights of tragedy were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Aristotle argued that tragedy cleansed the heart through pity and terror, purging us of our petty concerns and worries by making us aware that there can be nobility in suffering. He called this experience 'catharsis'.
Satyr Plays: These short plays were performed between the acts of tragedies and made fun of the plight of the tragedy's characters. The satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat figures and actors in these plays wore large phalluses for comic effect. Few examples of these plays survive. They are classified by some authors as tragicomic, or comedy dramas.

Greek language

"We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts, have their root in Greece." Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822.
The Hellenic aka Greek language (Ελληνικά) is the only remaining descendant of the original proto-Indo-European dialects. Starting from the 8th century BC, its ancient form was spoken and read throughout the Hellenic world which, due to its significance in the history of Western civilization, had been called "The Cradle of Civilization." Unlike Latin, Greek is still a living language with a continuous history of almost 3,000 years.

Origins of the Greek Alphabet:
The Greek alphabet is thought to be the ancestor of all major European alphabets today. Although the script was adapted from the Semites around the tenth or ninth century BCE, it included significant improvements which were directly responsible for its influence. The history of the language that you speak is carved on its very words that, spoken and sung by millions of people over thousands of years, bring the history of our nation to us. Ancient Greeks spoke in different ways from place to place. That means that the language was taking different forms from place to place, forms which are known as dialects. In Sparta they had the Doric dialect and in Athens they had the Attic dialect and other dialects in other places. This, however, didn't prevent them from communicating and understanding each other without great difficulties, because the differences between the dialects were not very significant. Their language was virtually the same.

The common language however, was developed much later, after the Classical Age, in the years between 300 B.C. and 300 A.D. This language, that gradually became the common language of all Greeks, came from the Attic dialect and in particular the one spoken in Athens between 500 and 400 B.C., namely the time that Athens had reached the zenith of their glory. But in order for the Attic dialect to become a common language it had to borrow words from other dialects as well. This happened at the time that Alexander the Great was conquering Middle East, so this common language became (with time) a language of the Middle Easterners as well. It was spoken and written everywhere: Syria, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), Persia (modern Iran), Egypt etc. It had become in a way the international language of that era.

The Language Greek, the first great language of Western civilization, is considered by many to be the most effective and admirable means of communication ever devised. Its lucidity of structure and concept , together with its seemingly infinite variety of modes of expression, render it equally suitable to the needs of the rigorous thinker and the inspired poet. We can only imagine how classical Greek must have sounded to the ear, but the spoken word was probably no less beautiful than the written.

Greek-speaking people moved into the Greek Peninsula and adjacent areas from the Balkan Peninsula in the second millennium B.C. In time four distinct dialects evolved: Aeolic, Ionic, Arcado-Cyprian, and Doric. It was in the Ionic dialect that the epic poems of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, appeared, perhaps in the 9th century B.C. With the rise of Athens in succeeding centuries, a dialect of Ionic known as Attic began to produce the great literature of the classical periods. Attic became the dominant form of the language and the basis of the Koine, or common languages, whose use passed far beyond the border of present-day Greece. After the conquests of Alexander the Great it was spoken as far east as India, and later was adopted as a second langugage by the Roman Empire. The New Testament was written in the Koine and it is used by the Eastern Orthodox Church through the present day.

The Greek alphabet, an adaptation of the Phoenician, dates from about 1000 B.C. It was the first alphabet in which letters stood for vowels as well as for consonants, in contrast to the Semitic alphabets, which had only consonants. Like the Semitic alphabets, it was at first written from right to left, but then shifted to a style in which lines alternated from right-to-left and left-to-right, and then shifted again to the present left-to-right direction. An earlier form of Greek writing, known as Linear B and dating from 1500 B.C., was deciphered in 1952, but this was largely abandoned by 1200 B.C.Greek was the official languages of the Byzantine Empire from the 4th to the 15th century and thereafter continued to be spoken by Greeks under Turkish rule. Modern Greek began to take shape about the 9th century, and became the official language of the kingdom of Greece in the 19th.

Today Greek is spoken by about 10 million people, including some 5.000,000 on the island of Cyprus. In addition to the common speech, known as Demotic, an imitation of classical Greek, know as Pure, has been revived for literary purposes. The impact of Greek upon the vocabulary of all languages, including English, has been enormous. Such prefixes as poly- (much, many), micro- (small), anti- (against), auto- (self), hemi- (half), hetero- (different), chrono- (time), tele- (distance), geo- (earth), physio- (nature), photo- (light), hydro- (water), litho- (stone), phono- (sound), anthropo- (man), psycho- (mind), and philo- (love), each generate dozens of vital words inscientific, technical and other fields.

Equally important Greek suffices are -meter (measure), -gram (letter), -graph (write), -scope (see), -phone (sound), and -phobia (fear). ETHNOLOGUE.GR: LANGUAGES IN GREECE Hellenic Republic, Elliniki Dimokratia. National or official language: Greek. 10,600,000 (1998 UN). Literacy rate 94% to 96%. Also includes Armenian 20,000, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic 2,000, Balkan Gagauz Turkish, English 8,000, Western Farsi 10,000, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Urum, Arabic 28,000. Information mainly from R. Dawkins 1916; P. Trudgill and G. Tzavaras 1977; B. Comrie 1987; W. Browne 1989, 1998. Christian, Muslim. Blind population 13,000 (1982 WCE). Deaf population 42,600 to 634,565 (1986 Gallaudet University). Deaf institutions: 17. Data accuracy estimate: B. The number of languages listed for Greece is 15. Of those, 13 are living languages and 2 are extinct. Diversity index 0.14.

Greek currency

The word drachmi aka drachma derives from the Greek verb "dratto", meaning something that one can grab with his hands, and was the currency circulating in ancient Greece.
It was established as a currency in ancient Greece in the 7th century BC by Phaedon, who ascended to the temple of Hera and deposited a "pack of obolos" and thus replaced obolos with the drachma. From the mid-6th century on, the drachma became the prevailing currency in most Greek cities. In fact it was used by Alexander the Great who issued the four-drachma coins with which he paid his soldiers and gave a "dowry" to the newly-weds and used it in his campaigns along with the gold stater. Because of this, the drachma was circulating in Palestine at Christ's times. It was a money Christ used, together with Jewish and Roman money.

The evolution of drachmas through the years>>

In the New Testament there survive two incidents involving the drachma. The first one took place in Capernaum, when "they that received the two-drachmas ["tribute money" in the English translation] came to Peter and said: Doth not your master pay the two-drachmas?" (Matt.17, 24). This was a tax paid by Jews everywhere for the Temple. The two-drachma coin was the attic money, equivalent to two attic drachmas or one alexandrian drachma. Its ancestor, the Greek coin however, under thousand different names and images, was first introduced 2,700 years ago. To mark and honour the second Modern Olympics hosted by Athens, Greece launched a new GDR 1,000 Olympic banknote and six varieties of GDR 500 Olympic coins.

Motifs chosen to adorn the coins are in tune with Olympic tradition. They feature Diagoras of Rhodes, the fifth-century BC boxer who fathered a succession of renowned Olympic medallists, the entrance of the Olympic stadium at the ancient site of Olympia and the two pioneers for the revival of Modern Games: Greek Dimitrios Vikelas, who was the International Olympic Committees first president, and his successor, French Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Other depictions on the Olympic currency include the lighting of the Olympic Flame in Olympia, a medal from the first Modern Games held in Athens in 1896, as well as marathon runner Spyros Louis - Greeces legendary gold medallist from those historic Games.

In Greece eurocents are called "lepta":- 1 lepto - Athens battleship (thrireme) from Cimon regency times- 2 lepta - Corvette from Revolution 1821 - 5 lepta - Modern tanker- 10 lepta - Rigas Velestinlis - Fereos (1757 - 1798) - patriot, legendary martyr, - 20 lepta - Ioannis Kapodistras (1776 - 1831) - polician and diplomat, first Governor of Greece (1830 - 1831), - 50 lepta - Elefterios Venizelos (1864 - 1936) - greatest greek politician,- 1 Euro - Owl - symbol of wise - on ancient coin- 2 Euro - Europe on bull, abducted.

Greek proverbs

If you seek well you shall find.
First secure an independent income, then practice virtue.
The beginning is the half of every action

"It concerns us to know the purpose we seek in life, for then, like archers aiming at a definitive mark, we shall be more likely to attain what we want." (Aristotle)
"Practice yourself, for heaven's sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater." (Epictetus)
"For where there is love of man, there is also love of art." (Hippocrates)
"Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge" (Plato)
"Success for the striver washes away the effort of striving." (Pindaros)
"The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be." (Socrates)
"If you are out of trouble, watch for danger." .... "There is no success without hardship." (Sophocles)

  • Άτυχος είναι αυτός που δεν μπορεί να υποφέρει την ατυχία (Βίαντας)
  • Κακό πράγμα η ανάγκη αλλά δεν είναι ανάγκη να ζει κάποιος δημιουργώντας πολλές ανάγκες (Επίκουρος)
  • Αν θέλεις να κάνεις κάποιον πλούσιο, μην του προσθέτεις χρήματα, να του αφαιρείς επιθυμίες (Επίκουρος)
  • Τη μοίρα του ανθρώπου την καθορίζει ο χαρακτήρας του (Ηράκλειτος)
  • Δύο πράγματα μας βοηθούν να καταλάβουμε τι είναι ο θάνατος: το πώς νοιώθουμε προτού γεννηθούμε και ο βαθύς ύπνος (Αναξαγόρας)

He who is not satisfied with a little is not satisfied with allot
This saying indicates that we should be happy with what we have and appreciate it.The saying is often said in a situation when someone who has much to be grateful for complains of something minor not happening the way they want. It basically tells us to appreciate what we have and forget about minor things.

Many words are poverty
This saying indicates that we should speak clearly and to the point, to not ramble on and on in are speech pointlessly. It can also be used in a setting where a person speaks endlessly about what they are "going to do", instead of "doing it" ."Actions speak louder then words" is similar in this context. This saying is said to have its' roots in ancient Sparta. The Spartans were taught to speak with little words, to have humility, to be wise, to respect the elders, and the laws of their nation. These values formed the basis of this ancient Greek super power. The Ancient Spartans were said to be specific in what they said.

The liar and the thief rejoice in their first year only
This saying deals with a belief that those who commit wrongdoings such as lying, stealing etc, only enjoy their actions for a short while. It is an indication that if you commit wrongful actions eventually they will catch up to you, and you will be caught and punished for them.

The rabbits' eye differs from that of the owl
This saying is basically about how the eyes of one person differ from the eyes of another. Just as the eyes of the owl differ from those of the rabbit. Two persons may see the same event and recount two different stories as to what occurred. In this situation a person may say this saying commenting how they knew how the event really occurred as their eyes are sharper than the other person's, just like the way the owl's eyes are sharper then the rabbits.

Χρωστάει της Μιχαλούς ...Η λαϊκή έκφραση συνδέεται με τη μετεπαναστατική ζωή στο Ναύπλιο, πρωτεύουσα τότε της Ελλάδας. Συγκεκριμένα, μετά την επανάσταση του 21 υπήρχε στο Ναύπλιο μια ταβέρνα που ανήκε σε μια γυναίκα, τη Μιχαλού. Η Μιχαλού είχε το προτέρημα να κάνει «βερεσέδια» αλλά υπό προθεσμία. Μόλις εξαντλείτο η προθεσμία - και η υπομονή της - στόλιζε τους χρεώστες της με «κοσμητικότατα» επίθετα. Όσοι τα άκουγαν, ήξεραν καλά ότι αυτός που δέχεται τις «περιποιήσεις» της «χρωστάει της Μιχαλούς».

Έφαγα χυλόπιτα..Γύρω στα 1815 υπήρχε κάποιος κομπογιαννίτης, ο Παρθένης Νένιμος, ο οποίος ισχυριζόταν πως είχε βρει το φάρμακο για τους βαρύτατα ερωτευμένους. Επρόκειτο για ένα παρασκεύασμα από σιταρένιο χυλό ψημένο στο φούρνο. Όσοι λοιπόν αγαπούσαν χωρίς ανταπόκριση, θα έλυναν το πρόβλημά τους τρώγοντας αυτή τη θαυματουργή πίτα - και μάλιστα επί τρεις ημέρες, κάθε πρωί, τελείως νηστικοί.

Μυρίζω τα νύχια μου... Η φράση προέρχεται από την αρχαία τελετουργική συνήθεια, κατά την οποία οι ιέρειες των μαντείων βουτούσαν τα δάχτυλά τους σ' ένα υγρό με βάση το δαφνέλαιο, τις αναθυμιάσεις του οποίου εισέπνεαν καθώς τα έφερναν κατόπιν κοντά στη μύτη τους και μ' αυτό τον τρόπο έπεφταν σ' ένα είδος καταληψίας κατά την οποία προμάντευαν τα μελλούμενα.

Τρώει τα νύχια του για καβγά....Ένα από τα αγαπημένα θεάματα των Ρωμαίων και αργότερα των Βυζαντινών, ήταν η ελεύθερη πάλη.Οι περισσότεροι από τους παλαιστές, ήταν σκλάβοι, που έβγαιναν από το στίβο με την ελπίδα να νικήσουν και να απελευθερωθούν. Στην ελεύθερη αυτή πάλη επιτρέπονταν τα πάντα γροθιές, κλωτσιές, κουτουλιές, ακόμη και το πνίξιμο.Το μόνο που απαγορευόταν αυστηρά ήταν οι γρατζουνιές. Ο παλαιστής έπρεπε να νικήσει τον αντίπαλό του, χωρίς να του προξενήσει την παραμικρή αμυχή με τα νύχια, πράγμα , βέβαια, δυσκολότατο. Γιατί τα νύχια των δυστυχισμένων σκλάβων, που έμεναν συνέχεια μέσα στα κάτεργα, ήταν τεράστια και σκληρά από τις βαριές δουλειές που έκαναν.Γι' αυτό λίγο προτού βγουν στο στίβο, άρχιζαν να τα κόβουν, όπως μπορούσαν, με τα δόντια τους. Από το γεγονός αυτό βγήκε κι η φράση «τρώει τα νύχια του για καβγά».

Μάλλιασε η γλώσσα μου...Στη βυζαντινή εποχή υπήρχαν διάφορες τιμωρίες, ανάλογες, βέβαια, με το παράπτωμα. Όταν π.χ. ένας έλεγε πολλά, δηλαδή έλεγε λόγια που δεν έπρεπε να ειπωθούν, τότε τον τιμωρούσαν με έναν τρομερό τρόπο. Του έδιναν ένα ειδικό χόρτο που ήταν υποχρεωμένος με το μάσημα να το κάνει πολτό μέσα στο στόμα του. Το χόρτο, όμως, αυτό ήταν αγκαθωτό, στυφό και αρκετά σκληρό, τόσο που κατά το μάσημα στο στόμα του πρηζόταν και η γλώσσα, το ελατήριο δηλαδή της τιμωρίας του, άνοιγε, μάτωνε και γινόταν ίνες-ίνες, κλωστές-κλωστές, δηλαδή, όπως είναι τα μαλλιά. Από την απάνθρωπη τιμωρία βγήκε και η παροιμιώδης φράση : 'μάλλιασε η γλώσσα μου', που τις λέμε μέχρι σήμερα, όταν προσπαθούμε με τα λόγια μας να πείσουμε κάποιον για κάτι και του το λέμε πολλές φορές.

Μου έφυγε το καφάσι...Στα Τούρκικα καφάς θα πει κεφάλι, κρανίο. Όταν, λοιπόν, η καρπαζιά, που έριξαν σε κάποιον είναι δυνατή λέμε :' του έφυγε το καφάσι', δηλαδή, του έφυγε το κεφάλι από τη δύναμη του κτυπήματος. Το ίδιο και όταν αντιληφθούμε κάτι σπουδαίο, λέμε :'μου έφυγε το καφάσι' , δηλαδή, μου έφυγε το κεφάλι από τη σπουδαιότητα

Τουμπεκί...«Τουμπεκί » λέγεται τουρκικά ο καπνός για τον αργιλέ, που τον κάπνιζαν στα διάφορα καφενεία της παλιάς εποχής. Τον αργιλέ τον ετοίμαζαν οι «ταμπήδες» των καφενείων και επειδή αυτοί έπιαναν την κουβέντα κι αργούσαμε τον πάνε στον πελάτη, εκείνος με τη σειρά του φώναζε: «κάνε τουμπεκί ». Όσοι κάπνισαν ναργιλέ ήταν και από φυσικού τους λιγομίλητοι και δεν τους άρεσε η «πάρλα», οι φλυαρίες. Με τις ώρες κρατούσαν στα χείλη τους το «μαρκούτσι» του ναργιλέ, απολαμβάνοντας μακάρια και σιωπηλά το τουμπεκί, που σιγόκαιγε στο λούλα.. Και αν κάνεις, που κι αυτός κάπνιζε ναργιλέ δίπλα του, άνοιγε πλατιά κουβέντα, οι μερακλήδες της παρέας του έλεγαν: « Κάνε τουμπεκί», δηλαδή, κάπνιζε και μη μιλάς. Τώρα για το « ψιλοκομμένο » τουμπεκί, ήταν η τέχνη του «ταμπή» να του το προσφέρει ψιλοκομμένο, που ήταν και καλύτερο.

Tongue Twisters
Ο γιος του Ρουμπή, του Κουμπή, του ρουμποκομπολογή, βγήκε να ρουμπέψει, να κουμπέψει, να ρουμποκομπολογέψει, και τον πιάσαν οι ρουμπήδες, οι κουμπήδες, οι ρουμποκομπολογήδες. Η συκιά μας η διπλή, η διπλογυριστή, κάνει τα σύκα τα διπλά, τα διπλογυρι-γυριστά. Πάει ο σκύλος ο διπλός, ο διπλογυρι-γυριστός, να φάει τα σύκα τα διπλά, τα διπλογυρι-γυριστά.

Ο τζίτζιρας, ο μίντζιρας, ο τζιντζιμιντζιχόντζιρας, ανέβηκε στην τζιντζιριά, στη μιντζιριά, στην τζιντζιμιντζιχοντζιριά, να φάει τα τζίντζιρα, τα μίντζιρα, τα τζιντζιμιντζιχόντζιρα. Έφαγα και χόρτασα, ζεστά ξερά σκαστά κουκιά, με τη ζεστή ξερή σκαστή κουτάλα

Βαρέλι νεροβάρελο, ποιος σε νεροβαρελόδενε; Tου νεροβαρελοδέτη ο γιός.
Της καρέκλα το πόδι ξεκαρεκλοποδαριάστηκε. Ε! το ξεκαρεκλοποδομένο!
Νερό, λινάρι, νερολίναρο, νεροκαθαρολίναρο
Ο παπάς ο παχύς έφαγε παχιά φακή. Γιατί παπά παχύ, να φας παχιά φακή; Μια πάπια, μα ποια πάπια; Μια πάπια μα ποια πάπια;
Ασπρη πέτρα ξέξασπρη κι απ' τον ήλιο ξεξασπρότερη.


Ανέβηκα στην πιπεριά να κόψω ένα πιπέρι κ' η πιπεριά τσακίστηκε και μου 'κοψε το χέρι, δος μου το μαντιλάκι σου το χρυσοκεντημένο, να δέσω το χεράκι μου, που είναι ματωμένο, μες στο αίμα βουτημένο!
Ανεβαίνω στη μηλιά και πατώ στην καρυδιά πίνω το γλυκό κρασί με την κούπα τη χρυσή.
Αχ, κουνελάκι, κουνελάκι ξύλο που θα το φας! Μέσα σε ξένο περιβολάκι τρύπα γιατί τρυπάς; Τι μου σουφρώνεις τη μυτίτσα; Τι μου κουνάς τ' αυτιά; Τι μου κλείνεις το ματάκι Είσαι μια ζωγραφιά

Greek Carnival - Karnavali - Apokries

Info: www.gnto.gr 

In various regions of Greece Carnivals are held, which have as their main characteristic the distinctive local color and the people's intention to keep the tradition alive. The Carnival celebration usually begins on Tsiknopempti (Smoke Thursday) with a series of cultural, theatrical and other events. Tsiknopempti is traditionally the day when Greeks consume hefty quantities of grilled meat (hence the day’s name) prior to entering Lent as of "Kathari Deutera/Ash Monday".
There are masquerade parties, float parades, majorettes, ballet groups.Each year, more of the ancient traditions of Carnival are being revived in Greece. In Greece, Carnival dates are tied to Greek Orthodox Easter, which is usually different from Western Easter. Most carnival-related events are connected with the ancient worship of the Greek god of wine and divine intoxication, Dionysus. Already, the Carnival in the Greek city of Patras ranks in the top three carnival celebrations in the world, right after much better-known events in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. In Corfu and Rethimno, Crete, the Greek apokria celebrations have absorbed a slightly Venetian flavor from the periods that the islands were under the control of Venice. In Thassos, travelers can still experience a non-commercial but very vibrant celebration, and there are dozens of others on other islands and on the Greek mainland.

In Greece, Carnival is called "Apokries"; it consists of two weeks of feast, beginning from the Sunday of Meat Fare and ends with the start of Lent, called "Clean Monday" (Kathari Deutera). Everyone is costumed and party in the streets and bars, throwing colored confetti one to another.
The most famous Carnival parade takes place in the city of Patra, where everybody dance and drink all night and day. This custom is believed to come from paganism, and more precisely from the old festivities worshiping Dionysus, the god of wine and feast. orget "Fat Tuesday" but enjoy "Burnt Thursday" "Burnt Thursday" or Tsiknopempti is celebrated eleven days before the start of Lent. The "Burnt" part refers to the grilling of meats, a big part of the celebration of this day. The weekend following "Burnt Thursday" will also have parties and other events; technically, that Sunday is the last allowable day for eating meat and is sometimes called "Meat-eating Sunday". The best Greek restaurants will be crowded on this day! The most vigorous party is on the weekend prior to the end of the Carnival season. This is followed by Clean Monday or "Ash Monday", a generally family-oriented day where, in Athens, picnics and kite-flying prevail. "Clean Monday" is the last day of Carnival for the Greeks. "Fat Tuesday" does not exist in Greece - Burnt Thursday is its closest parallel.

The opening ceremony is the starting-point of the events and as an invitation to the people of Patra to take an active part in it. The visitors have the opportunity to participate in events such as IDOMATA, BOURBOULIA, MOONS, BABY RALLY, and the NIGHT PARADE on the eve of the last Sunday.
On the second Thursday of the Carnival - Tsiknopempti - and for four days and nights, more than 30,000 people take part in Carnival celebrations most of whom are active members of the Treasure Hunt, while more than 300,000 people have the opportunity to have fun watching the parades, dancing and singing.In the evening of the last Sunday of the Carnival, the Carnival King is called upon to bid farewell to his subjects and to arrange a date for next year.The customary meeting of all crew on the central quay of the harbor, the announcement of the winners of the Treasure Hunt, the Farewell of the Carnival King, the endless dancing and the astonishing fireworks are unforgettable memories for the visitors.Patra has been established as a center of carnival happenings. It is really worth being here during these happenings and feel the atmosphere of the festival, which gradually climaxes with dances, competitions and festivities.
The whole city participates in these fantastic carnivals until it reaches it's peak. The phantasmagorical carnival parade, which parades through the city on the last Sunday of carnival. The main features of the very event in recent years, have been the high spirit of the carnival, the oath of participation and the decoration of the city center, as well as the first official appearance of the carnival Queen and the Carnival train which leaves Athens and passes through many other cities.
The BOURBOULIA, together with the Treasure Hunt, are the oldest (1872 aprox.) and most popular events of the Patra Carnival. All residents of the area with other merrymakers from all over Greece or abroad participate in the fun. The fact that, in the old times, women couldn't go out at night and have fun during Carnival Celebrations. The BOURBOULIA, gave the women the opportunity of participating in this Carnival Ball. They had to wear black dominos (a kind of black dress with a hood) as well as a mask, while men were uncovered and normally dressed.By this way, women couldn't be recognized, they had the opportunity to enjoy the Carnival Flirtation. Of course, nowadays, things have changed, but the BOURBOULIA Ball, still keeps its enchanting spirit. The attention of all party-goers is turned to the symbol of the Greek Mardi Gras during this pre- Lenten season. The Patra Carnival is one of the most important events not only in the city's own area, but in the country as a whole.

Greek Namedays

Namedays are a special and important part of Greek life because the very names themselves go back to the very beginning of Greek culture. Coming down to us through the ages are the marvelous names of heroes, saints and mythological figures such as the mighty Herakles, Odyessus, Alexander, Socrates, Plato, Constantine, Helen and many many more. Of course they go on, and on and in fact, many of them have changed little over time and are still used today. For instance, the name 'Ioannis' is the derivative of 'John', and 'Maria' the root for Mary. All these names and more are all derived from the original Greek.

In the beginning of the Greek Orthodox religion, these celebrations were mainly observed as 'saint's days, but later became individual 'namedays'. All in all, namedays now are considered much more important than a person's actual birthday. In most cases, it is a tradition now in Greece, that when a person has a nameday, he or she gives a party where refreshments such as coffee, cake, liquor and hors d' oeuvres are offered to friends and acquaintances alike. In the work place, it's a little more subdued, but the nameday person still offers something like sweets or cakes. In business it's always good to remember namedays as a sign of mutual respect for bosses and workers alike. In fact, many business people these days send telegrams to associates and clients on their nameday as a way of keeping up good public relations. All in all, namedays are a fun and charming aspect of Greece which are celebrated with more flare in the small towns and villages.With small children, the nameday becomes a more of a celebration where a festive party is usually given, which continues every year up until about the age of twelve. During a nameday, it's always a good idea to call your friends to wish them 'chronia polla', or 'have a good year' as a sign of appreciation, and at this point in the conversation, your friend will usually let you know if he's having a nameday party or not at his house. If he is and you are invited, whatever you do, don't come empty handed because it's customary to take along a gift. Usually a box of sweets, flowers or a plant will do. In some cases, you can even have the plant delivered if you can't get to the florist. Another good idea is to bring along some wine, liquor, or a more personal gift if you wish, depending on how well you know the person.

In Greece and Cyprus, a name day (Greek: εορτή, eortē, or γιορτή, yiortí, "feast") is celebrated in a similar way to a birthday. According to the Orthodox Church, every day of the year is dedicated to the memory of at least one (usually more than one) saint or martyr. If someone is named after a saint, then there is a big celebration on his or her name day. In Greece and Cyprus many names derive from long pagan tradition, and there may not be a Christian saint by the same name. In such a case the person is said "not to have" a name day, or they may choose to celebrate on All Saints' Day. The vast majority of name days are on the same date every year; the few exceptions are names directly or indirectly associated with Easter, and are floating. This facilitates social interaction, as all Greek language calendars include detailed name day lists. Some name days coincide with major Christian feasts, for example people whose names are Chrēstos or Christine have their name day on Christmas, people named after St. Basil have their name day on New Year's Day, Anastásios and Anastasía on Easter Sunday, María and Mários on the Dormition or on the Presentation, etc.

The traditional format of a name day celebration is an open house: no specific invitations are extended and all well-wishers are welcomed. This is not uniformly observed: a family or person may choose to celebrate with invited guests only, at home, at a restaurant, a bar or a club, or not celebrate at all (e.g. following a recent bereavement). Name day celebrations are similar to birthdays, except for expected differences (e.g. there is no cake with candles on a name day). Children celebrate their birthdays and name days equally festively; as the person grows up the emphasis shifts decisively to the name day and birthdays become lower-key, family affairs.

Entertainment provided by the celebrating host may include formal or informal meals, drinks, desserts, music, dancing, etc. It is the person being celebrated that arranges the party and serves the guests, instead of the guests fussing over the celebrant. It is poor form for a guest to arrive at such a celebration "empty-handed", although the gift offered may be something as financially trivial as a card or a few flowers. Money gifts are also considered poor form, except if the celebrant is a child or teenager and the gift is offered by an adult relative or a godparent. It is poor form to celebrate birthdays and name days in too grand a fashion if the two days are close to each other. In such cases the celebrations are best merged. It is also common to shift a name day celebration to the following Friday or Saturday evening if a dinner party is planned.