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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 3

Tales from Crete | 3

If you ask a Danish school student what the Danish flag actually means and stands for, the closest answer you get is that it fell from the sky, which most of us can work out is hardly likely and is therefore based on myth. A myth that goes all the way back to Valdemar Sejr's battle at Lyndanisse in 1219 against the Estonians.

If you ask a Greek school student about the meaning of the Greek flag, or Galanolefki as it is called, the answer is more clear and very present. The blue and white colors symbolize the sea and the sky, the white cross symbolizes the Greek Orthodox Christian faith and the 9 horizontal stripes, alternating white and blue, stand for the 9 syllables in the Greek war cry for independence "Elefthería í thánatos" which means "Freedom or death”. However, it was not until 13 January 1822, after the War of Independence in the 1820s, that the flag was officially introduced and at the latest in 1978, the flag was reintroduced, after the country had for periods flown the blue flag with a white cross, so the flag is historically relatively new, but on the other hand has very great importance.

The Greeks, and in particular the Cretans, are proud of their flag in a completely different way than we Danes are of our flag, because precisely independence, freedom and independence are of colossal importance, and this is reflected throughout Greek history. If we turn our gaze to Crete, history goes all the way back to 6000 years before the birth of Christ. For over 2000 years, the Cretans have been occupied or under changing dominions and this has led to countless bloody revolutions over the years, where many Cretans have had to die. Out of sheer necessity, the Cretans therefore often became great warriors. Warriors who live in the moment because they cannot plan for tomorrow. That trend lives on to this day. The Cretans think in the present and not much about tomorrow. It is basically probably one of the biggest and most difficult problems compared to the way most other EU countries think. In a strange way, there is still a kind of anarchy on Crete among the Cretans themselves, but this is in no way something you as a tourist should be worried about, because the Cretans are incredibly friendly and welcoming people and the island is a particularly safe place to be. The Cretans themselves say that Crete is the center of the universe, the island of emotions with both magic and mystery, and they like to open the goodie bag to both show and tell about it.

But the thing about living in the present and not planning for tomorrow was something I took to myself one of the first times I was in Crete. At that time, like so many others, I wore a wristwatch and had the habit of looking at it now and then without really knowing why. An old Cretan noticed that and he asked me what it was I was looking at like that. "Well I'm looking at my watch" I replied, where after a long pause he simply said "why?". It was of course to see what time it was, I answered him. "Are you afraid that time won't pass" he replied with a wry smile. "Now you have looked at your watch several times while we have been standing here talking and you have already lost some of your time looking at it and you can still only see what has already passed" - Well, I thought, that's really enough. So since that day, I have never worn a watch and I actually do quite well without it. It is of course a problem if there is something that you absolutely have to do at a certain time, but the Cretans themselves don't care that much about it. It is probably more the rest of us who have to hang on a string, but then we have today almost everyone has a mobile phone that you can look at. Greeks, by definition, have a completely different and considerably more relaxed relationship with time than we do. A Greek is never late for anything. According to himself, he always arrives exactly at the time he arrives, and there may be something right in that.

Personally, I really like not wearing a wristwatch and not hanging on to a bell string, but that also presents some challenges. This little story should probably have been submitted already this morning so that it could appear on Elena's website, but this morning I sat and drank my morning coffee in peace and quiet, and that is also important.

So to all of you who are just starting the weekend, I would like to wish you all a really nice one of this kind and just say: "Remember to enjoy life and live in the moment"

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