Monday, 20 May 2013

Easter in Kalymnos

Easter or Pascha in Greek is the most important religious holiday of the Orthodox Church celebrating the resurrection of Christ and the chance of rebirth for mankind. It is a HUGE celebration in Greece!

Easter preparations began on Thursday the 2nd May (long after Easter celebration in England). In the evening we baked special cookies and dyed eggs red because red is the colour of life, it also represents Jesus's blood.

Friday is the saddest day because it is a day of mourning. Nobody is allowed to work or even cook.
Also on Friday everyone went to the church in the evening to listen to the priests sing their songs. Then at 10 O'clock at night there was a march through the centre of Pothia with a symbolic coffin of Jesus, which is called a Epitaph.

Every church makes their own Epitaph elaborately decorated with flowers and beautiful fabrics. The priests and all of the Kalymnians dress up in their best clothes with little girls dressed in white. People carry the candles through the town centre following the Epitaph.

Also there is a very strange tradition in Kalymnos where they throw big and small explosive dynamites to celebrate things. Therefore you can hear massive explosions throughout the Easter Week.  People even leave their windows opened for the night because the vibration of the dynamites can shatter the glass.

Next day-Holy Saturday, the Eternal flame is brought to greece by military jet, and is distributed to waiting priests who carry it to their local churches.

Another peculiar tradition that takes place on Holy saturday is the burning of Judas (the person who betrayed Jesus). People from every church make their own puppet of Judas out of old ragged clothes. After they make Judas people hang him on a long piece of string next to the church for a few days until they burn him on Holy Saturday.

Holy saturday is a day of intense movement and activity. People are preparing for a Sunday feast. The traditional dish that Kalymnians cook is Mououri-The whole lamb stuffed with rice red sauce and many spices. It is cooked in deep round ceramic pot in a huge oven outside the house, Here it is...

Although the family we live with grilled a goat instead of a lamb which was delicious to mum but I preferred chips.

The Holy Saturday ends with a midnight service of the resurrection which is an occasion attended by everyone who is able, including children, each holding a special candle. I had such a candle too.

We also went to the midnight service and I was given one of these special candles to hold. Mine was blue and white with silver anchor. The service was was awesome and very interesting but tiring because I had to stay up late. When the clock passed midnight the priests called out "Cristos anesti " (Christ is risen), and passed the flame to those nearest to him. We also lit our candles from this flame, and had to carry it home carefully.

When we got home we had a midnight meal with a special soup which had lamb guts and rice in it. It sounds disgusting but it was actually quite tasty.

On Easter Sunday we had a huge feast and everyone was happy and jolly.

After the feast we went to Pothia (the capital of Kalymnos) to see a dynamite competition. Me and my mum went to Agious Savvas monastery to the mountain where they were throwing dynamites from. It was very loud and a bit scary because you could feel your heart vibrating in your chest.

It was quite a spectacular ending to the Easter celebration!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Greek Food

I have been living in Kalymnos for 3 weeks now and I have tasted a lot of Greek national dishes.
Greek food is very different from the food I'm used to in Great Britain.

People on the island eat a lot of Feta cheese, yoghurt, honey and olive oil.

There are lots of lemon trees and Kalymnians squeeze the juice of lemons on their food.

There is no frozen food on the and ready cooked meals in the super market. So people buy fresh
vegetables and fresh meat or fish and cook everything from scratch. Also Kalymnians keep loads of animals( goats, chickens, rabbits and sheep) to provide them with their own fresh eggs, milk and meat.

As well you can find a lot of fig, orange and olive trees on the island.

Overall I would like to say Kalymnians eat much healthier food than English people, and that is why they live to about the age of 100-110 and don't suffer with obesity.

Some of my favourite dishes so far are:

FAKES - a lentil soup usually served with vinegar and olive oil.

GREEK SALAD - a tomato salad with cucumber, red onion, Feta cheese and kalamata olives, dressed with olive oil.

ZOUTZOUKAKIA - large meat balls with cumin, cinnamon and garlic and served in a tomato sauce.

And my favourite sweet so far is GALAKTOBOUREKA - custard between layers of phyllo pastry. The name derives from Greek "Ghala" meaning milk, and from the Turkish "borek" meaning filled, thus meaning "filled with milk".


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Monastery of Agios Savvas

The monastery of Agios Savvas lies on top of a hill above Pothia town, the capital of Kalymnos.

Saint Savvas was born in 1862 and he was a monk. During the last 20 years of his life he lived as a kind-hearted priest in Kalymnos.

I liked the monastery. It was very well looked after, incredibly tidy and pretty. All the buildings were made of stone (some of them painted white) with red slated roofs. I loved the views from the terraces over the sea and the town of Pothia and the delightful flowers that were growing around the buildings.

I couldn't believe that I wasn't allowed to run around because my favourite sport is running plus there is loads of space for running around. Also if you whistle in  the monastery it is considered to be disrespectful. I now know that in Holy places you shouldn't whistle or run and you have to be polite and quiet.

On the whole it is a wonderful monastery and I would recommend you visiting it if you are in Kalymnos. 

Stay tuned and don't forget to comment.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Beginning of my adventures (island Kalymnos)

A week ago me and my Mum came to a beautiful island called Kalymnos. It is a Greek island in Aegean Sea between the island of Kos and the island of Leros.

I liked the island because of all the stunning views over the mountains and the sea.  The houses are really pretty and are very traditional. The people in Kalymnos are very friendly and hospitable and I have made 6 friends already.

Kalymnos isn't a very big island. It has an area of 109 km sq and has a population of about 10,000 people.

Kalymnians are quite religious people and there are 300 churches and 5 monasteries  on the island. The majority of Kalymnians are Greek Orthodox.

We have already visited the monastery of Agious Savvas but I will tell you about it and show you the pictures in my next post.