The Sun is Shining

Lemonitissa Church, a landmark on Symi's acropolis.

The sun is shining and the pre-Easter whitewashing is well under way. Easter is a very busy time for women in Greece as the bulk of the preparations for the celebrations falls upon them. Apart from whitewashing the outsides of the houses, particularly the steps, before the processions of the Epitaphi on Good Friday (biers symbolizing Christ’s funeral), they have kilos of traditional biscuits, cheese pies and cakes to prepare for Sunday’s feast, eggs to dye red and decorate, offal soup to prepare for the breaking of the fast at midnight on Saturday night, mountains of food to prepare for the lamb spit roast on Sunday and still fit in attending all the church services of Holy Week. When I set off for work at 7.30 in the morning the ladies are already emerging from the first church services of the day and are heading home for another day of preparations.

Morning shadows on the Kali Strata

Not all houses on the Kali Strata are mansions.
This narrow sliver of a building is next door to the Old Markets
which are being restored as a boutique hotel.

While the women are filling the lanes with the buttery aromas of vanilla and mastic cookies, the men are out in the fields, slaughtering lambs for Sunday. This is a bad time to be a male lamb in Greece as they are the ones destined for culinary greatness! With fine weather forecast until Tuesday all is set for some excellent Easter parties. As the Easter feast is traditionally held out of doors on Symi, with the lamb spit roasted rather than baked in an oven as is the case on some of the other Greek islands, a dry day is definitely an asset. Before the feasting, however, there is still a fair amount of fasting. Many Symiots observe the Lenten Fast most strictly in Holy Week, and restaurants and tavernas advertise that they are serving dishes complying with this. Good Friday, with its solemn night time processions through the streets is not the excuse for retail therapy that it has become in many other parts of the world.

Kids in the Pedi Valley, doing what they enjoy best.

The butcher at the bottom of the Kali Strata. 
That is a carefully made cross from Palm Sunday.

The Minerva, a Hellenic Swan cruise ship, came into Symi yesterday and stayed over night. The majority of the guests seemed to be of mature years and came ashore in small groups with tour guides in the course of the afternoon. While Rhodes is often dwarfed by enormous cruise ships, Symi appeals more to smaller niche market cruises, the sort where the passengers are more interested in the history and culture of the various ports of call than how many night clubs there are on board.

The 'Minerva' of Nassau

I shall next be in the office on Tuesday to post a formal blog but will endeavour to put up some pictures in the course of the weekend, 3G connections permitting.

Happy Easter and Kalo Pasca to you all!



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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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