Threading Oranges

The promised rain has been dancing round Symi since Friday night but all we have had has been occasional light sprinklings and lots of sunny intervals. Other parts of Greece have had quite serious stormy weather and northern Greece is blanketed with snow. The weather forecast for Symi for the rest of the week remains unsettled with the possibility of rain, thunderstorms and strong winds.
The Christmas holidays aren’t officially over in Greece until the Epiphany celebrations on 6 January which is, of course, tomorrow. This is a big holiday in Greece and is particularly well supported in the islands where there is a strong maritime tradition. One of the traditional features of this celebration is the construction of booths in the harbours and ports of all the islands and the mainland. It is from these booths, decorated with cypress branches and garlands of oranges, that the presiding priest throws the Cross into the water, from which it is retrieved by one of a group of local young men. Whoever braves the cold to successfully retrieve the Cross can look forward to a blessed year. In the photograph you can see two Symiots busy threading oranges onto wire to decorate the booth on which they are sitting.
Another source of feverish activity on the quayside is the conversion of the ground floor of the old Panormitis building next door to what was Ali’s Turkish Carpet shop into the new premises for ANES, Symi’s local ferry company ( and ). The office is now open for business although there are still painters and decorators at work.

Have a peaceful week.

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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