Calendar

The 12 months of Crete !

Picture “The 4 Seasons” Yannis Tsarouhis (1969).

Did you know that Crete celebrates 12 months a year?

Did you know that Crete celebrates 12 months a year?
Did you also know that many of these celebrations go as far back in to time when the Ancient Gods and Titans fought for the dominion of this world?
Through these celebrations you can get to know the historical, the mythical and social fabric of this island.

6. June , by Ioanna Kalypso Glyptis

The month of June has an association with Easter in Greek Orthodox tradition.
The Ascension of Christ, coming 40 days after Easter, often may fall close to June.

The people of Greece and Crete visit the sea while fish is consumed traditionally, the first swim of the year is also taken. Women often remain in the sea until they have counted 40 waves, before returning to the shore to dry out.
The flocks of sheep are taken to sea and blessed with salt water as well, it can be an effort to accomplish this with a large flock, Cheese is given to all helping to herd the flocks and to all those that took part in the church service that day.
For those that live up in the mountains too far from the sea, people go to springs and wells. The face is washed 40 times instead, and the sign of the cross is made on their foreheads.

The Pentecost
On the Saturday of the Pentecost, the souls are ready to return to the underworld — a dark world with no sun, no light. Such visions go back as far back as the Homeric writings and no doubt earlier still.
Women in Crete, who have experienced death in their home, leave a glass of water or jug of water outside their house for the souls to drink from, before they take their long journey. As the wind blows through the trees, the sounds of the leaves are the tears of the souls that have to return.
Women, like a modern version of the ancient Greek deityDemeter, prepare coliva – a special dish served atfunerals in memory of the deceased. These dishes are taken to church in absolute silence … for you see in Crete at this moment there is no Heaven nor Hell. There is only Hades for all souls, just relentlessly dark Hades.
Candles are lit on every dish of coliva – to light their steps as they descend once more.
Walnut leafs are used to kneel on while in church the leaf when rubbed stains one black with its dye .. again the profound darkness of Hades.

On Monday of the Holy Spirit
Feasts take place throughout all Crete wherever there is a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit. Pilgrims walk sometimes for days and nights in order to arrive on foot at a mountain top or a chapel, as proof of their devotion.
In the village squares the people celebrate all together.

8 of June
Saint Theodore the General
A local Saint celebrated in Western Crete at Omalos, and on the small islands of Saint Theodore in Western Crete. The people commemorate him in the open air, in the countryside.

12 of June
Saint Onoufrios
This Hermit lived in Egypt during the first centuries of Christianity . Once restricted to the coast of South Crete, this saint is now found through all the island. Monasteries and caves are where he is celebrated. At the village of Alones, the shepherds milk their flock and serve milk after church service.

24 of June
The birth day of Saint John the Forerunner/the Baptist.
The most important birthdays in Greek Orthodoxy are those of Jesus Christ on December 25 and of Saint Johnon 24 June. Saint John is said to have been 6 months older than Jesus Christ: a significant halving of the year.

On the 24 of June bonfires are set: they symbolize the midsummer sun and its light. After sunset the fires are lit and blaze up. People jump over them. Such practices can remind us of the myth of Demeter trying to immortalize the infant Dimofonta by passing him over fire; or Thetis with her son Achilles.
This fire-jumping tradition is associated in Crete withSaint John Klidonas the leapingtakes place to music and dancing.
The fire and leaping over it represents the immortality of the soul .

Wine and food
Saint John is also the patron saint of the bee keepers.

29 of June
Saints Peter and Paul
The two most senior figures in the early church. Saint Paul is seen by the Cretans as the one who introduced Christianity to the island. The South of Crete is riddled with beautiful chapels dedicated to him.
Crete does not have poisonous snakes: originally this was seen as a gift of Zeus to his birthland. His gift was later assumed by Saint Titus, the first Bishop of Crete, appointed directly by Paul. (St Patrick did the same for Ireland.)

bonfires are set: they symbolize the midsummer sun and its light.

wedding

5. May , by Ioanna Kalypso Glyptis

May is the month that celebrates life – all life.
In antiquity it was also the month that the souls that had passed could emerge to taunt the living. May is the month where life and death, winter and summer overlap.
After winter, nature unleashes all its beauty and flowers, blossom … life is vibrant; but at the same time the underworld powers are very displeased.

1 of May
On this day herbs are collected that will be used to heal and cure. People also make their way to the countryside to collect flowers and make wreaths out of them. In this, the people of Greece and Crete are trying to benefit from the splendor of the blossoming of the flowers: they hope that they will also be healthy, strong and beautiful.
The wreaths made by the Cretans are interesting in their symbolism. The branch of the olive tree symbolizes love and family.
Adding a branch of a thistle protects the home from harm, garlic also protects from the evil eye, wheat for fertility and … as many colourful flowers as possible.
Traditionally women would wake up before the sun rose, and under the starry night collect the components of the wreath in order to hang on the front door before sunrise, for extra protection.The children during the day would make their own wreaths that they would employ to decorate their heads or wear round their necks.
On this day women cook wild greens and make goats-cheese pies with honey.

4 of May
Saint Pelagia
Saint Pelagia is connected with the sea (as her name tells one). She overlaps with the ancient Greek Goddess Venus that emerged from the sea.
After the church service people bless the sea and themselves: they go to the sea strand, taking with them to the beach the icon of this saint, all in procession.
Those that are ill sit in the sand – and the icon is lifted over them …. hopefully they will feel better soon.

6 of May
Saint Job
On the Western side of the island of Crete is a chapel, dedicated to Agios Job.

8 May
Saint John Theologian
This saint in Crete is also the patron saint of the crops. Today the women prepare stuffed vine leafs his honour.
Many Holy Monasteries are dedicated to this saint, throughout the whole island – at Toplou, Preveli, and Anopolis pilgrims visit and feasts are held.

9 of May
Saint Christopher
This saint is the patron of the travellers. Often he assists the taxi drivers and bus drivers to work safely. He can sometimes be drawn with a head of a dog.Dogs are guardians of the shepherds while moving their flocks and Christ has his flock …

21 of May
Saints Constantine and Helen.
This day, for the Cretans, initiates the end of Spring and start of Summer.
Saint Constantine founded the city and capital Constantinople; his mother Helen was reputed to have discovered the True Cross.

collect flowers and make wreaths out of them.

wedding

4. April , by Ioanna Kalypso Glyptis

In the Eastern Mediterranean, a handsome Adonis awaits: for he rejoices in many names in this part of the world. Every Easter an Adonis blossoms in the garden of the heart of all Greeks : one can call him Lazarus, Hyacinthus, Dionysus or Zeus Zagreas of Crete.
Lazarus today in Greek Orthodox Christianity partakes of all these Gods of Spring, that had died but now return with the quickening world once again.
So in Spring flower wreaths are made for Lazarus: in Crete on the Saturday of Lazarus, the cycle of Easter opens. In Northern Crete, up in the mountains of Psiloritis (Ida), the women bake the Lazarus bread; in Eastern Crete children make a little Lazarus out of bamboo and flowers. Priests prepare for Palm Sunday with a branch of a blooming olive tree as well.

A message is concealed in this tradition, a intimation of the Great Resurrection to come in just one week!
The rites overlap with ancient traditions, such as the bringing of-eggs, olive branches and flowers to the burial-grounds, where loved ones rest.
Baskets with eggs, decorated with flowers are carried by the children of the families; songs are sung by the children from door to door. In Anogia, families that have lost a relative within the year bake sweet bread and bring it to the church.

Palm Sunday

Today the churches are decorated with palm fronds, branches of the olive and other trees: a faint echo of rituals practised in Ancient Greece at the Elefsinian Mysteries.

On Palm Sunday people eat fish, just like on the 25 of March. Such consumption of fish at a funeral is something we find also in ancient Phoenicia, before it became adopted in the Eastern Christian world.
During this week in Greece no one uses a hammer, a nail or plays cards … a week of severe fasting begins on Good Friday, and hardly any food is consumed, unless it be orange, lemon or bread with vinegar: all tastes must be bitter!

Women during the week dye hard-boiled eggs: primarilyon the Thursday. The women also prepare the Epitaphios: a coffin full of flowers. Morning takes place in the church, just as for someone beloved and close to them. Bread baked by the women is used in the service: handed out by them, in place of the priest.
A service is held all Thursday night – under candle light; the church is full of flowers, and the scent rises in the candles’ warmth – so very sweet – as the mourning continues. Then too is the time where people mourn their loved ones: for at this moment the gates of the underworld are open.
In the Great Thursday rituals of Greek Orthodox Christianity the presence of the ancient traditions of the young God of Vegetation in Crete is still obvious.

Great Friday is the saddest day of the week. Once again women play the predominant role in the rituals: she is the Mother, the Sister; she prepares the body to be buried. The Epitaphios is prepared: lifted up, it passes out of the church and a procession begins .. one that involves the whole community, village, or city parish. They parade on foot around the boundaries and, where possible, through every street by every house … even unto the cemetery -for does not Christ make his way to the underworld and return? The borders between this world and the underworld on this night are very thin indeed. Finally, they all return to the church .. the cycle is now complete.

Food eggs, sweet bread, and wine are taken to the cemeteries and presented to family members that have passed away: a glass of red wine is offered to the soul, so it may rest in peace.

Saturday is a pensive and quiet day – until Midnight. Then Christ Rises — the sky is filled with the light of fireworks, noisy bangers burst underfoot .. chasing away any lurking demon by their thunder. People embrace, kiss each other and with their fresh-lit candles, walk joyfully homewards. The house lintel is blest with a smoky cross; its inhabitants settle to a specially-made soup. For, says one .. Christ has Risen (Hristos Anesti), and another responds .. In truth Arisen (Alithos Anesti). The exchanges are murmured cheerfully on every side.

Easter Sunday
After a long period of fasting, protein is enjoyed once again – a lamb roasted on a spit or in the oven with greens. Sweet bread and eggs .. and lots of wine, for life has beaten death again.

23 April usually (depending on the date of Easter).
Saint George Megalo Martyr – the Great Martyr
Saint George embodies the ideal Cretan male: a protector, brave, an accomplished horseman, a warrior,the defender of womenfolk. The very embodiment of Spring, this saint drives away dragons, evil, disease and saves children from illness. In many areas of Crete on this day churches and Monasteries dedicated to this saint hold a blessing of the flocks. Milk is used in the communion, instead of wine. Horse races are arranged through all out the island. The horses of Saint George are feisty little beasts, of warm mettle: part Arab and part theold Cretan bloodline.

Women during the week dye hard-boiled eggs: primarilyon the Thursday.

wedding

3. March , by Ioanna Kalypso Glyptis
The first month of Spring.
The month of the return of the swallows, victory of light over darkness.
Before the first of January in 46 B.C.New Year was celebrated the 1 of March, traces of this is still prominent through all out Greece today not just in Crete.
March the month of promise of summer but still holds some cold and frosty days we all must be cautious for winter has not had its final word yet!
Crowns out of flowers are made and decorate beds, little girls icons.
The ill on the first day of March in Crete are beaten gently with vine branches the sacred vine of Dionysus and Jesus Christ,after the gentle beating the patient takes the vine home and sets fire to it on Easter Sunday in this way the victory of life over death is guaranteed.
Many poems and rhymes are sang on this day to cure people and live stock that suffered through winter and have not recovered.

March arrived today
change your hide
grow and become beautiful
change your garments
and to the sky you shall reach!

The tradition of making a bracelet out of red and white thread is not only found here in Crete but also in other Balkan countries.
Very probably a tradition that is very old for St.John did not approve of it!
Traditionally these bracelets are woven by women for their children to protect them having left the threads out all night under the starry night and bathed the threads in the light of the moon before making the precious bracelets.
During the first days of March traditionally in Crete the women also
make bread and sweets in shape of swallow nests, a treat for the family and guests.

09 March
The wholly 40 saints that suffered in the 4 century associated as patrons of vegetation although they are military saints.
On this day the young girls of Crete would take their silk worms to the sea lift their skirts walk into the sea holding their silk worms up and count 40 waves to pass to bless their worms!
40 the years of the Israelite’s in the desert,40 the days a newly born infant stays home with its mother before stepping out, 40 the days of lent,40 the days it takes for the soul to make its way into the under world etc.
40 is a number of new beginnings, the 40 saints are young with no beard, handsome and young they will encourage new beginnings and help those who work the land and grapevine.
On the 9 of March while the men tend to the vines women collect 40 herbs to prepare the 40 herbal tea much loved in Crete that is very powerful and potent. Sarandavotano is the name of this tea or Sarandadentri one must try this tea!

25 of March
The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is celebrated.
Spring is here, a special bank holiday with many feasts all through the island.
Flowers, many flowers dedicated to the mother of Christ lilies are offered and left in churches for a miracle is conceived, for life is celebrated.
On this day people consume fish and alcohol usually cod if no fresh fish was available.
In local tavernas or village squares whole families and friends meet to celebrate life,the pure miracle of life.

The first month of Spring.

wedding

2. February , by Ioanna Kalypso Glyptis

01 St.Tryfonas.
Saint Tryfonas is portrayed as a young man: an embodiment of the promise of spring, so eagerly awaited by all those that work the land and vines. (He is also a Saint that can heal the ill.) He is often painted with geese, as he was goose herder.
Monasteries and churches dedicated to him are found in southern Crete – and also near the archaeological site of Knossos. He ensures the growth of the crops, but most importantly the gathering of a good harvest of wine and table grapes, as well as sultanina raisins. He will protect the crops from insects and locusts, so locals take to the church today baskets full of vegetables, which are arranged beside his icon. After the service, food from the offerings is distributed to all – even those who just happen to be passing by.

02 Virgin Mary Arkoudiotisa (Mary, Our Lady of the Bear)
A unique celebration dedicated to the mother of Christ here in Crete, the celebration initially was conducted in a cave in Western Crete close by the Monastery Gouverneto in Chania. Now they occur in other areas of the island as well.
What we recognize in this event is the continuation of a tradition that is very ancient: this cave was once dedicated to the ancient goddess Artemis (Diana), whom you might associate with wild animals, the moon and hunting. But this virgin goddess also had a role as the goddess of childbirth. The cave has stalactites and stalagmites that ‘form’ a huge bear: one of the sacred animals of this ancient goddess.
The ancient celebrations are part of the Candlemas of the Greek Christian Orthodoxy today: Christ was taken to the temple this day.
Bears are renown for being good mothers (kourotrophes). They can ‘overlap’ with the great mother holding her divine child in antiquity; and do so still later – first as the virgin Mary in Biblical times and finally the more modern Virgin Mary of the Bear, who is the protector of pregnant women, mothers and young children.
In many caves all around Crete, the Bear-version of the Virgin Mary is celebrated with bonfires, at night services held in the light of torches.
In Greek mythology, the Bears, Arctos both little and large, became stars (Ursa Minor and Major), in reward for their protection of Zeus in his infancy. Bears often protect children in these stories.

03 February St.Symeon
Celebrated at the beginning of February, this bearded saint is associated with the scars that children might bear if their mother dared to sew, while pregnant. So pregnant women in Crete would never risk any sewing or knitting on this saint’s name day.

04 February Saint Isidore of the Cretans.
A saint actually of Alexandria in Egypt, he appears at the very eastern tip of Crete (Cavo Sidero, where a monastery is dedicated to him. As a hermit, he spent time in the desert: which habit explains why we have monasteries dedicated to this saint in far off and remote areas.
Like in many cases when celebrating Saint Isidore, his pilgrims come on foot, bringing those wild greens that they have collected along the way. Large fires are set going, so that the food is cooked through the night, before the early morning service.

10 February Saint Haralambos.
Saint Haralambos is the patron saint of vegetation animals. As well as a protector against the Black Death. The Plague was often painted as an old woman, blind and naked, that contaminated all and took the lives of almost everyone, unless Saint Haralambos stood in her way.
His churches are often sited at the entrance of a settlement or village, for he would protect the inhabitants from anything bad that tried to enter.
As his name means ‘he who shines with joy’, one who drove away darkness and death, he is the saint you pray to when planting a tree, especially during winter.
Then too when large animals fell ill in Crete, they were brought to the entrance of the church: the saint was asked to cure them. Bread was made and blessed in the name of the saint, and then given to the sick animal in the hope of restoring its health.
There is a very unusual chapel dedicated to this saint at Sfakia in south-west Crete, a sea-side cave! Here icons of him are arranged, alongside candles set in a pot of sand and oil lamps hanging from the ceiling of the cave. The briny sea air almost masks the powerful scent of the incense. Why here and by the sea? Well, the plague came to Sphakia across the sea…

11 February Saint Vlasios.
Saint Vlasios, the Hermit, spent most of his life in caves, dwelling among wild animals that he had tamed. This saint also helped pregnant women, so in Crete sweets are made by pregnant women and given to friends in his name.

23 February Saint Polikarpos.
Saint Polikarpos was the bishop of Ishmir – in Asia Minor. Polikarpos, meaning many fruits, is naturally the saint responsible for the well-being of the fruits and fruiting plants. The celebrations of this saint are intertwined with celebrations to ensure prosperity in antiquity.

*********
Apokries (Abstinence of meat)

Carnival
The date will vary, being linked to that of Easter .. some years as early as February, others a good month later.
The Greek Carnival is celebrated before Easter, but its roots go far back, to when the ancient people of Greece celebrated the life, death and resurrection of the ancient God Dionysus. This celebration was an opportunity for the rural population from antiquity onwards to enjoy themselves, as well as strengthening the ties among the people.
The modern Carnival coincides with the ancient festival of Anthestiria (one of Flowers): these celebrations were to mark the moment the Gates of Hades opened – and souls were set free for a while. So even today, makaria (in memory of, in Greek) makaroni is served. No trees (a flower of sorts) are cut during these days. All in memory of the souls that have passed.

One of cities in Greece where Carnival is enjoyed the most is the city of Rethymno: every year 15,000 people attend and 25 floats parade in the streets! But in villages too, such as Meronas to the south of Rethymno, the celebrations are renown through all the island. Games, theater, teasing, the wedding, the funeral, the confession and the camel take place in the village square.
Carnival is first celebrated within the family unit and close friends, and then spills out onto the streets, with different costumes (designed and made, or bought) and themes each year.

Tsiknopempti (Meat Thursday)
On this day food is given to the poor, in the name of the souls who have passed away. People dress up on this day as well. In villages, animal hides are worn, large bells raise a clamour and lots of teasing takes place. It is the moment when farmers and shepherds evoke the past, and ask of nature and the past to permit the present to flourish, and so provide a future. It is an explosion of life, unleashing new life.
Normality departs. People wear their clothes inside out, sprout animal horns or don masks etc. Wearing a large phallus represents virility; men dress as women, theatrically-dressed ‘brides’ – all male – provoke and tease other males; shocking and naughty jokes are shared and savoured.
In antiquity, Dionysus had transformed himself to escape death, but was nonetheless killed and eaten: before rising from the dead. Echoes of these ancient traditions can be clearly detected during the Cretan carnival .. as people evoke all souls and harness the power of nature, to first unleash its wild powers and then to restore normality and ensure prosperity.
Night parades accompanied by musicians announce the opening of the celebrations and the carnival. After the night parade in the city of Rethymno, the mayor hands the keys of the city over: symbolizing his relinquishing of control to the unruly forces about to erupt.
While all the celebrations described above take place, the older women make preparations to honour the departed souls.
Finally on Carnival Sunday, the main parade takes place. It is deemed that spring must have decided to return, and that the souls are pleased. As Sunday passes into Monday (Clean Monday – Katheri Deftera), Lent begins.
Normality reasserts itself: the kes of the city of Rethymno return to the mayor; the effigy of the Carnival King is burned on the beach of Rethymno, among fireworks.

After Clean Monday, we leave behind the recent abundance of food and alcohol. We begin the slow and accumulating fast, until Easter. Special food is consumed on this Monday, preparing us for Lent. People eat taramas (fish eggs/roes dip), squid, shrimp, octopus – denizens of the deep, for no red meat, no blood, must be drawn this day.
The flying of kites in the open fields is enthusiastically pursued on this Monday: the fragile constructions of paper and string ascending ever aloft, to become mere dots in the skies – wafting away on the clean winds of heaven and cleansing the sins of the world below.

Rethymnon famous Carnival.

wedding

1. JANUARY , by Ioanna Kalypso Glyptis

01 January New Year’s Day and Eve
It is probably a few decades now in Crete since last one might have seen a farmer bringing home on the first day of the year his cow.
Hold on a moment – a cow? In Crete? A cow in these mountains? All I see here on my arrival are sheep and goats!
But Yes – a Cow. For this blessed animal makes a first-footing – the first visitor on the first day of the first month of the year! A gentle and kind, if large, beast: a mother, a symbol of strength, a blessing that brings good luck to the household by her visit.
This harmless and gentle visitor was required to be the first across the threshold, so that the rest of the year would run smoothly. It had to be someone that you trusted, a reliable visitor, a companion to your struggles, a hard-working companion … so the cow was the obvious choice! She was treated with sweet bread, home-made confections and brought to the house. Her horns would be decorated with bread jewellery. The cow must leave the family home well-fed, well-treated and entertained, so she will be willing to work hard and well for the family in return.
Sweets that reassemble the plough are given as presents, since the plough symbolizes hard but honest labour.

St.Basil is the saint celebrated on New Years Eve in Greek Orthodoxy, the patron saint of those working the fields with animals and a protector of the crops.

New Year is also a celebration beloved by children, as new beginnings in life then are welcomed – such times are sweet when one is young!
The children visit the houses of their village and neighbourhood: they sing the seasonal songs and receive sweets and blessings from their older neighbours; today this has often degenerated into gifts of money, at times substantial.
Elsewhere, the icon of the patron Saint of the village or neighbourhood was brought to each home by the women of that family, as a blessing to the house.
On this, the first day of the year, a plate with sweets and wine was sent from each family to the church in every village for the living to enjoy, but also to remember the ones absent.

A New Year is a New Beginning, some things are archetypal …
A mother or a wife would give oranges to her loved family members, the fragrance is so strong, the fruit so sweet and the colour so bright – especially welcome in winter!
Children are often given pomegranates – a vibrant red, their multiple seeds symbolizing prosperity and unity of a people. A fruit with strong mythological connotations, as it was the gift given to Persephone by Hades when she was in the underworld…in the realm of Death. But she emerged once more on the surface of the earth, having eaten a little of this fruit, victorious and alive!

As Persephone has not yet returned from the underworld in January, the earth is yet frozen … the flowers absent. But hope is always needed, to bolster the promise of life, light and sun, so women traditionally would find an emerging plant that connected this frozen dormant earth with the underworld and also the promise of better times to come, dig it up and bring it home. It is called the squill (a sort of large hyacinth, blue-flowered). This plant with its long wide leaves is a bulb; it will blossom even when out of the soil. It is known in Crete as The Immortal.

Another tradition of this time is the making of Mantinades: rhyming couplets with a strong rhythm – small poems that are exchanged in the place of spoken wishes. Someone who can improvise a good Mantinada is well respected in the community.

06 January The Blessing of the Waters – The Epiphany
The blessing of the waters and the baptism of Christ.
This is a much older tradition that has become embedded in Christianity: the moment that the God makes an appearance, the Epiphany. Something we see portrayed so very often in the Minoan rings and seals of Crete, some four thousand years past!

The waters are blessed: it is through and by water we arrive in the world and we are christened.
In a long church service, the city, the town, the village is blessed, and finally so is the sea.
The sea after being blessed should become calm: from this day onward the sailors should be able to travel safely. The cross is thrown into the sea by the priest up to three times: hardy swimmers brave the freezing waters to dive in and compete to retrieve it.
The blessing of the waters represents for the Cretans the catharsis of the world, the cosmos is protected and order is re-established. All water in the home, all water given to livestock has to be renewed, after the blessing of the waters on this day.
For those who live far from the sea or rivers, the priest blesses the livestock, after blessing the homes of people. Shepherds will still ask the priest to bless their animals on this day in Crete. Farmers fast throughout the country side, but treat their animals of labour, their herds and flocks with gifts of fruits, nuts and grains. No animal must feel deprived on this day.

07 January St. John
Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on this day. After Christ has been baptized, his status has changed: now he has become St. John the Baptist.
Children that have been recently baptized receive their first communion; the godfather or godmother visits their godchild and family, with gifts.

16 January St. Peter
17 January St. Antony
18 January St. Athanasios
These three saints in the understanding of the Cretan soul are the saints of winter.
St. Antony is the saint of the snow-capped mountains and harsh weather conditions, a saint to be found in caves in ravines. He was a hermit, so that is why we find chapels dedicated to this saint in such remote places.
He is the patron saint of those who fight their inner demons, as well as all those fighting arthritis. Large fires are lit when celebrating St. Antony – not only for warmth, but to summon the light, as it can be so very dark in mid-January for us Cretans who love the sun and the light so much.
In Western Crete, in the area of Sfakia, the people make bread loaves in human form, dedicated to St. Antony. They are taken to the church and blessed: St. Antony is seen as a healer, just like the ancient god Asklipios: for in the minds of the ancient Greeks .. if the soul suffers the body suffers too. (Close to mens sana in corpore sano!)
Body parts and limbs made out of bread are offered as votive offerings, in the hope of healing. Similar offerings in clay are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion: the Minoans behaved in the same way, with their deities.

30 January The celebration of the Fathers of our church.
A celebration dedicated to scholars, schools and all students in all paths of life.

The Blessing of the Waters The Epiphany.

wedding

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