Blog day comes around again with unfailing regularity – fatuous observation - and I sometimes wonder if I won’t run out of ideas or topics of conversation. This is number 78 of the current series (doesn’t that sound grand?) Goodness knows how many there were before the computer crashed and virtually everything on the hard drive was lost. Fortunately Spiros, our marvellous computer man in Xania, no, he was in Xania, he has now moved to Souda, managed to save most of the Thornton King book “The Cinelli Vases”, number 4 in that series. Because of the writing that was lost for a while I really didn’t feel like picking it up again but in some ways the loss was beneficial as the new writing exceeded the old and ideas were formed that previously didn’t exist. I wish I could say the same for “The Museum Mysteries”. I seem to have come to a full stop on that one. Writer’s block? And I am only a quarter of the way into it. Oh, well, there are plenty of other things waiting in line so I may go back to it before the year is out. Who knows?
Here we are two weeks into the seven weeks of lent, not that that means anything to me, all starting off with Carnival preceding Kathari Theftera, Shrove or Clean Monday, one of the most important dates in the Orthodox calendar being the start of that fasting period leading up to the most important festival of all – Easter.
Carnival is very big in Greece, major cities having a parade of floats that goes on for ever and even smaller towns, like our neighbour Kalyves, having a parade of sorts. The silly wigs come out and the costumes, shops do a roaring trade with costume hire for carnival, the men have an excuse to get into drag; French maid or nurse’s uniform seem to be the favourites and some are truly grotesque. It seems the uglier the man the more he is into the transvestite bit. It’s like women with the ugliest breasts are the first ones to go topless on the beach. The children are all in fancy dress, with the boys Zorro is the particular favourite. The little girls seem to have much more imagination.
Clean Monday itself, following hard on carnival, is considered the first day of Spring and is celebrated in various ways. A special bread is baked called lagana. In our neck of the woods it is kite flying time and the beaches make ideal launch pads. If it’s not kite flying then possibly it’s excursions into the mountains and picnics. In Galaxidi the good citizens indulge in a battle in the streets with coloured flour which leaves the streets anything but clean, and inTymanos they evidently celebrate Dirty Monday drinking wine from phallic shaped cups and telling sexy jokes. This surely must go way way back to Dionysian revels. At least no one gets torn apart by bloodthirsty religious crazed Bacchae. Not that I’ve heard of anyway.