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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 46

Tales from Crete | 46

On August 15, St. Mary's Day throughout Greece. It is one of the great feast days in the Greek Orthodox Church, where it is celebrated that the Virgin Mary's body did not undergo the physical decay that befalls everyone at her death, but that instead her body was taken to heaven and there reunited with her soul. A holiday that has been practiced since the 4th century and is still observed today throughout Greece. One can easily get the impression that St. Maria's day in many places in Greece is just an excuse to have a day off and have a party, the way the Greeks like it, with decorations in the small villages, traditional dancing, lots of food, retsina and cozy gatherings with friends and family, but everyone knows the meaning of the day which is one of the cornerstones of the Greek Orthodox Church.

It is said that without the Virgin Mary, there would have been no Jesus Christ and thus no Christianity, so the day is very essential in the Christian faith.

On the mainland, the Virgin Mary is considered the mother of the earth, while on the many Greek islands, she is very naturally considered to be the mother of the sea. There are also many unexplained and incomprehensible myths associated with the Virgin Mary, which I will probably have to look into more deeply, as it requires a far greater insight into history than I have.

But there is no doubt that it is still a day of celebration. St. Mary is celebrated everywhere and one of the places where extra effort is really made of celebrating the day is on the island of Tinos in the Church of the Virgin Mary (also called: Panayia Evangelistria) where thousands of pilgrims make their pilgrimage every year precisely on August 15, because to join in the procession and solemnity in the great church built around a miraculous icon which, according to tradition, was found after the Virgin appeared to the nun Pelagia and revealed to her the place where the icon was buried. Today, Tinos is much more than a place where pilgrims come. It is also an island in development but with great respect for traditions and the island's history. Perhaps this is precisely why the small microbrewery located on the island and producing excellent beer is called "Nisos" (which means island in Greek), because on each of the Greek islands, you take care of your own island with pronounced pride.

Good weekend to you all down here from Crete, where I sit and enjoy it in 30 degree heat, while I philosophize a little about life and all its inexplicables and oddities, without finding head and tail in anything, but who says that you should be able to :-)

Tales from Crete | Elena's - The taste of Greece

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