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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 48

Tales from Crete | 48

Right here at the beginning of the month of September, the big Sardine Festival in Chania starts. It is an annual recurring event where you celebrate the small, tasty fish that make up a large part of both the Cretan daily diet and an even larger part in the food chain in the sea that surrounds Crete.

At the beach in Nea Chora and Souda, grilled sardines are served in abundance to everyone who passes by and of course with fresh white wine or Retsina, as it should be. It's all spiced up with traditional Cretan dance to live music, and the festivities last several days.

Yes, Cretans are good at creating a party and never miss a good opportunity to throw one and there are numerous examples all over Crete to point to. Many of these festivals, as they are called, are actually listed on various internet sites sorted by region, type and date, so no matter what time of year you visit Crete, there will be some festival somewhere on the island. Behind most of these festivals are the individual municipalities and regions, which financially support these activities and are involved in the planning. However, it is the local taverns and cafes, farmers, fishermen and other traders who are the backbone of the events, where the church often plays a major role as an actor, as many of the festivals that are held also have some form of religious element. Here in September, for example, the "festival of the cross" is held, where the focus is on the meaning of the cross and the history surrounding the cross, but where it is also a party that brings together many people, so that they can sit out and enjoy it for an evening, with good food, a little wine, song and dance.

One could wish that in Denmark we had as strong a bond between church and society as you have in Crete, where the church is not just a place that for the most part you visit for weddings, funerals, christenings, confirmations and Christmas Eve. But it no longer belongs in our Danish society, just as it does in Crete, where the church is closely integrated into society and a completely natural part of everyday life.

In Denmark, we would probably also roll our eyes if the local priest wearing a priest's dress went into the nearest supermarket or to the small local grocery store and did some shopping, and then dragged the goods home in large carrier bags. To us it would seem completely wrong, but throughout Greece it is a very common sight. Today, it is also a common sight to see both priests and monks walking around the street scene with a mobile phone to their ear. Who they are talking to is unknown to me, but maybe it is a new trend to a direct connection with higher powers that I have not caught at all yet. But they do, and both SMS and other text messages seem to work fine when they're not just on Facebook, like so many others.

But I think there's a bit of the uplifted and solemn when a priest runs around the city with his head deeply bent towards his smartphone and laughing trashy when there's a witty post or funny video. It is more pronounced, however, when the priests or monks stand like immature teenagers and share their experiences with each other with their smartphone in hand. Brave new world one must say and I'm not sure that I like it very much myself, but it is an expression of the times we live in and why shouldn't priests, like everyone else, be able to use the modern means of communication found in day.

But when it comes to the Sardin Festival or one of the many other festivals, the mobile phone stays in the pocket, because then the party has to be held and it will be there.   

Kaló mína (good month to you)

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

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