January in Crete
Happy New Year! We Welcome 2021 with optimism, we hope it will bring to all health and happiness. As we are on a strict lock-down and have all been good and followed the rules. Still locals made an effort to keep some of our lovely traditions. A walk in the little streets of the village and you can smell all the delicious sweets as melomakarona, kourambiedes and of course Vasilopita, a cake to find out who will be the lucky one to get the flouri (Flouri is a lucky coin stuffed in the cake). Brake a pomegranate it brings good luck to your home, its common to gift it to friends. Its only a few days until the 6th of January our next celebration which is the feast of Epiphany. In normal times on the 5th morning of January. Children will be knocking at your door asking “Na ta poume” in English translates “Should we say it” as you answer yes the will sing for you Carols of Epiphany it is normal to give some coins. Epiphany feast is a major celebration for Greece and Greek Orthodox Church and is also a national holiday. It celebrates the baptism of Christ by St John the Baptist and the blessing of the sea. In normal times locals will go to the church, after the service the priests in their celebratory hats and gowns lead the congregation down to the waterfront. The blessing of the sea will begin with lots of people, locals and visitors. The procession ends with the priest throwing a cross into the sea and hardy young men diving in to retrieve it. It is an interesting development that over the past years, some young girls have joined the boys and some non- Greeks have even taken up the challenge. Even in various weather conditions; mild winter mornings, heavy rain, stormy seas and snow, and fortunately, there is always someone who will rise to the challenge! The crowds applaud the lucky person who gets the cross and the winner is blessed with good luck for the year. The sailors consider this an important day as they sail the seas all year and the moment the cross is lifted above the water, the boats all sound their horns and distress rockets are fired all of which adds to the excitement of the celebrations. I hope we all manage to experience these Greek traditions soon! May your homes be full of health happiness and success. We all wish this difficult time will be very soon over and you can all soon enjoy wonderful Crete again.