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Please let me grow old with him; the desperate plea of a lover from the 4th century BCE

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Some 24 centuries ago, a woman probably named Phila, was in love with a man named Dionysophon. We don’t know whether the man reciprocated or encouraged her love in any way; we don’t know whether he made promises he didn’t … Continue reading

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Tsiknopempti

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It’s Tsiknopempti, a day of fun and gluttony. The Greeks everywhere gather for festive meals with family and friends. Tavernas, grills and restaurants are packed, with long queues forming at their doorsteps. For those who opt to stay home but … Continue reading

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“Tsougrisma,” a Greek Easter custom

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There is no Easter bunny hiding eggs for the Greek children to find. The eggs are in plain sight, on the table, for everyone to take. Yet, no one may eat them before “cracking” them with someone, exchanging wishes and … Continue reading

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The Epitaphios procession on Great Friday

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It may be known as Good Friday to many, but to the Greeks there’s nothing good on the Friday before Easter Sunday. That is the day when the entire Orthodox community mourns the passing of Jesus Christ. Symbolic death and … Continue reading

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A plant of gods and mortals

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In the beginning of spring, an impressive flower towers high above all others. It is usually found on roadsides, abandoned fields and archaeological sites all over Greece. It is giant fennel (ferula communis) but, despite its similarity with fennel, it … Continue reading

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Photos of the week: Easter barbeque

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In Greece, Easter is a family affair, a time to feast on all the foods forbidden during Lent, surrounded by friends and family. The day calls for barbecue; the tradition calls for lamb, roast on a spit over charcoal, a … Continue reading

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Easter in Greece comes with a bang

Everyone knows of New Year’s fireworks, but in Greece, it’s Easter that’s more worth of a bang. Nearly everyone, but especially young men and boys, will buy some sort of firework to light at the church courtyard during the Easter … Continue reading

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The Greek Carnival

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The Greek Carnival begins today; it is a festive period of three weeks, celebrated on the cusp of winter, usually in late February or March. It is a period of fancy costumes, parties and country-wide celebrations, culminating on Clean Monday.   … Continue reading

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Photo of the week: a Jewish echo

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On the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day, today’s photos have a Jewish theme: The first shows an impost capital, decorated with menoroth (menorahs), lulav (palm fronds) and etrog (citrus fruit). The second, exhibited nearby, shows a broken Greek inscription … Continue reading

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas with an artifact from the Byzantine Museum of Athens:   People usually associate the Orthodox tradition with Byzantine-style icons or murals, but sculptural representations of the life of Christ were not unheard of in the early Christian tradition. … Continue reading