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  • January 21, 2009

    Customs & Traditions in Serres

    Filed under: Local Customs — sylvi @ 8:55

    Ginaikokrtatia

    The custom of Gynaecocracy in the Villages of Monoklisia, N. Petra and A. Kamila,  is very well known all over Greece.

         A large number of visitors, Greek and foreign reporters visit the Prefecture on the 8th of January every year, to watch from a close distance the new «Amazons» receiving the key of the village for one day. The married women elect a woman as a chairperson, whose term of office lasts for four years. Then they elect the rest of the members of the Board, which also consists of women. Women occupy all the positions that day. You encounter a role of reversal in society; a traffic policewoman, a post woman etc. The men are occupied with housework; they wash the clothes, do the ironing, look after the children and in general they wear the housewife’s apron and they are busy in the house, which is left in a complete mess by the wives.

         So, while the husbands are busy with the housework the wives are holding a «session» at the coffee house. They are smoking, playing cards and enjoying themselves until the early hours. None of the men are allowed to take part in the festivities. If one of them dares to appear the least that is going to happen to him is to get drenched with water.  
      

    Customs & Traditions in Serres

    Filed under: Local Customs — sylvi @ 8:53

    Anastenaria1

    The village of St. Eleni is very well known for «Anastenaria», a festivity that is celebrated in Bacchus greatness on 21st May, the day of St. Constantine and Eleni. 

         Anastenaria is of great interest both from the folklore and religious points of view, because this festivity managed to preserve devotional elements from the ancient worship of Dionysus.

        

    This custom has been brought from Thrace and to be more specific, from some isolated Thracian villages, which remained unaffected by the influence of modern civilization. The believers of the peculiar worship managed to preserve the Dionysian worship by using extremely primitive elements.
     Anastenaria2

         Anastenarides, the modern Bacchus-Christians who live in small societies, create a special class, an «order» we could say, similar to the Dionysian «ancient troops». These people hardly ever go to church but they own private temples called «konaki» (lodging). Their top leader is «Saint’s anastenariko icon» and their top prelate is Archianastenaris, who is a diviner, exorcist, therapist, and founder of temples and houses.

         The unique custom of Fire walking or Anastenaria includes many different and interesting rites and mystagogies such as: ceremonial animal sacrifice, inspired by God mystic’s ecstasy, fire walking of the inspired. The ceremony starts on 20th May with animal sacrifices and the transfer of the icons from the village’s church to «Konaki», where sleeplessness and general preparation takes place.

         In the morning of the 21st May, Anastenarides bring the bell-icons to Agiasma, a holy place in a small wood. These icons, which are called «Hares», portray the holy couple of St. Constantine and St. Eleni. According to Anastenarides, it’s the «Hares» icons, which give them the ability to walk on fire.

         In the afternoon of the 21st May the first fire walking takes place, leaving all the spectators speechless. A particular mystic, who is entitled to it because of an ancestral heritage, lights the holy fire. When the fire settles down and a thick coal fire has formed, they call Anastenarides who appears in pomp and they start dancing in a circle around the holy coal fire, while the music exasperates the soul, increases the rhythm and the volume. The sonorous drum «whips» Anastenarides’ nerves and in a stimulating rhythm, which keeps on precipitating, leads the mystic occupied by the holy mania, walks barefoot on the coal fire and dances while he holds an icon or a holy hanky. The mystic’s body is not harmed in any way during that time and that’s because of a chemical reaction, which remains unknown to science. This no burning phenomenon, which is found all over the world and during the centuries, remains a mystery that still needs to be solved.

         Based on a religious opinion, fire walking is based on the faith of duality. Anastenarides believe that they vanish the Evil spirit with the help of the fire walking and to be more specific, with the help of the Saint, the representative of the Good spirit.

    Recipe

    Filed under: National cuisine — sylvi @ 8:50

    mpougatsa 

    There are as many recipes for bougatsa as there are Greek woman who painstakingly prepare it. This is one of the less labor intensive and adaptable to easily available ingredients, but delicious nevertheless.
     

    • 1 quart of milk
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1/3 cup farina, regular
    • 4 large eggs, well beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ pound ready made filo dough
    • 1 cup confectioners sugar
    • cinnamon

    Heat milk and sugar in deep pot. Add butter and farina slowly. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pot from heat and cool. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing in quickly.

    Melt butter in small pot and brush some on a rectangular or square baking pan. Lay 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with melted butter. Pour custard mixture over filo. Cover with remaining sheets of filo, brushing each with the melted butter as before. Cut partially through the top layers only, making squares or lozenge shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

    Sift confectioner’s sugar and sprinkle heavily with cinnamon over the top of the pastry as soon as it comes out of the oven. Eat it warm for the most divine experience.

    The traditional dessert of “akanes”: a speciality of Serres

    Filed under: National cuisine — sylvi @ 6:12

     

    Akanes

    When you come to Serres, you should taste its delicious traditional sweets, including “akanes”. It is made from fresh goat butter manufactured in the region of Mt Lailias. It resembles a small Turkish delight and has a strong flavour of well-roasted almond. The history of this dessert dates back to the period of the Turkish occupation when Mt Lailias served as the holiday resort of Ottoman beys.

    The “akanes” sweet was prepared in large cauldrons in which the “retseli” preserve was boiled together with “petimezi”, a Greek wine must syrup, and water from the springs of Mt Lailias. This is why it is called “Akanes Lailia Serron”. In fact, the unique flavour of “akanes” is believed to be due to the special, light and cool water springing from Mt Lailias.

    Later, the “retseli” preserve and the “petimezi” syrup were replaced by sugar cane and corn flour. Today, sugar is used instead. As soon as the above-mentioned mixture thickened, fresh butter as well as dried fruit and nuts were added to it. When it was ready, it was let to cool before being cut into small pieces

    Today, the “akanes” dessert mainly consists of sugar, butter, starch, almonds and corn flour.

    January 20, 2009

    Customs & traditions in Serres

    Filed under: Local Customs — xrkalli @ 8:33

    The custom of Gynaecocracy in the Villages of Monoklisia, N. Petra and A. Kamila,  is very well known all over Greece.

         A large number of visitors, Greek and foreign reporters visit the Prefecture on the 8th of January every year, to watch from a close distance the new «Amazons» receiving the key of the village for one day. The married women elect a woman as a chairperson, whose term of office lasts for four years. Then they elect the rest of the members of the Board, which also consists of women. Women occupy all the positions that day. You encounter a role of reversal in society; a traffic policewoman, a post woman etc. The men are occupied with housework; they wash the clothes, do the ironing, look after the children and in general they wear the housewife’s apron and they are busy in the house, which is left in a complete mess by the wives.

         So, while the husbands are busy with the housework the wives are holding a «session» at the coffee house. They are smoking, playing cards and enjoying themselves until the early hours. None of the men are allowed to take part in the festivities. If one of them dares to appear the least that is going to happen to him is to get drenched with water. 

    January 16, 2009

    Our town, school and one of our specialities!

    Filed under: Uncategorized — Toriz @ 3:02

    BRUNDALEN SKOLE/ AVDELING OPPFØLGINGSBASEN

    ”FOLLOW-UP” UNIT

     

    Brundalen videregående skole (Brundalen High School) is located in the outskirts of Trondheim, a fairly large city in Norwegian scale (third largest, actually), eventhough in a European scale it’s not that large (approx. 160 000 inhabitants). It’s the metropolitan center for mid-Norway and used to be the nation’s capitol  under it’s former name, “Nidaros”. In 1997 Trondheim celebrated it’s millennium, in which year we hosted both the Cutty Sark regatta and the Nordic skiing World Championship, both events contributing to place the city on the map. And we are very proud of our hometeam in soccer, Rosenborg, multiple winner of the national series and many times over participant of the international Champions League.

    It’s a maritime city with access to the ocean from Trondheimsfjord, an inland seaway, providing the city with a major commercial harbour.

     

     

    The “Follow-Up” unit is located in the downtown area of the city, carries 5 teachers covering general studying subjects as well as social studies and crafts and design. At present there are 13 students here, though the capacity is maybe twice as much. The enrolling criteria for the school, is that the prospective student has in one way or another been involved with the legal system in Norway, either as an ex-convict or as part of fulfilling a legal sentence. One of the school’s most prominent strengths is it’s ability to offer individual attention to the students and thereby secure a better learning environment.

     

    We, the students, range from 18 years old and up till individuals in their thirties, sometimes even early forties. The distribution between men and females are quite even. Some are here for a short stint, while others are here for a longer run, some have specified goals and ambitions, others are more exploratory or just checking things out.

     

    Norwegian cuisine:   Brown cheese

    -But it’s not really a cheese…!

    Because, technically, when we talk about cheese, we talk about a milk product that has been processed with a bacteria culture and thus become a cheese. Whereas the Norwegian “Brown Cheese” is boiled milk, and thus, technically, a caramel. We call it a cheese because it’s used as a cheese and it cuts like a cheese. It’s got a very characteristic, distinct taste, some loves it, others hate it! Not many are indifferent to it….

     

    January 14, 2009

    LITHUANIAN CUSTOMS

    Filed under: Local Customs — pikrides @ 10:17

    Lihuanian Custom

    When speaking about the ancient Lithuanians, their mode of life, character and customs, the historians of the past described them as strong-built men of medium height, peaceable and good-natured, but notable for courage in case they had to defend themselves. The historians usually stressed the hospitality, faithfulness to the given word and the love of truth and freedom inherent in Lithuanians.

    Before the introduction of Christianity the Lithuanians worshipped the forces of Nature and had many gods and goddesses, quite like ancient Greeks or Romans. The chief god was Perkunas, the Thunder god. The ancient Lithuanians worshipped their gods not in special buildings, but in sacred groves and forests where a holy fire was kept, guarded by vaidilutes (the Lithuanian equivalent of vestal virgins). The will of the gods was expounded by priests called kriviai, which were headed by the principal priest called kriviu krivaitis usually belonging to the court of the Grand Duke.

    The Lithuanians were the last pagan people in Europe. Many of them still worshipped their old gods and observed their old customs as late as the 16th and even 17th centuries. Upon its advent in Lithuania Christianity eventually did away with many of the old customs and traditions while dressing some others in Christian robes. Although formally declared religious holidays, Christmas, Easter and others retained many features characteristic of the old world outlook and of the old customs, which varied from one ethnographic region to another.

     From their forefathers who had a wage a hard struggle with the forces of Nature the Lithuanians inherited their industry. Hospitality and friendliness are regarded as natural to them since time immemorial. At the same time Lithuanians, like other northern peoples, have always been and still are reserved in manner and speech. Their mentality and world perception are tinged with gentle lyricism which finds reflection particularly in folk art. There are also regional differences in the mode of life, manner and customs. West Lithuanians. e. Zemaiciai (Samogitians), are particularly sedate, reserved and persistent. Rational thinking, thrift and orderliness are characteristic of the majority of Aukstaiciai, particularly their south-western group called Suvalkieciai. Dzukai, living in South-east Lithuania, are cheerful, open-hearted, friendly and hospitable people who have always lived in poverty on their unproductive sandy land.

    LITHUANIAN CUISINE

    Filed under: National cuisine — pikrides @ 9:58

     Lithuanian Cuisine

     Nothing else can characterize the nation better as its cuisine. In this respect Lithuanian culinary traditions are one of the brightest in Eastern Europe.

     Lithuanian cuisine is notable for its diversity of dishes from potatoes and meat. A lot of gourmets consider it to be too much simple and even tough. In all probability this opinion has been formed after visiting expensive restaurants in the center of Vilnius. In fact if you want to know what a real zeppelin is you should act in another way. In other words you can choose some simpler place somewhere in a Lithuanian town (for example Druskininkai or Palanga). But best of all Lithuanians cook themselves that’s why if the majority of visitors of this café are native people than its cuisine will be really Lithuanian.

    Zeppelin which was mentioned above is maybe the most well-known Lithuanian dish. It represents a kind of dumpling with the filling from meat and a smoked suet. This dish is cooked differently depending on the regions of Lithuania: in Klaipeda you’ll be offered to try it with a fish filling, in Zhemaitia (the region in the western part of the country) you’ll be offered a special gravy with sour cream and mushrooms.
    As it was already said a potato is the basis of Lithuanian cuisine. A lot of dishes are cooked from it. Among them there is kugelis (a potato pudding), shvilpicai (potato sticks) and also a potato sausage which is called vedere.
    A native Lithuanian treating is a rye bread. Except for this variety of bread (with caraway, honey, herbs, raisins etc), there’s a dish in Lithuania called “labas” which is original in its simplicity: the seeds of sunflower, garlic and cheese are added to the fried sliced bread. If there’s the best snack to beer in the world than it’s unlikely it’s called otherwise. 
     

    January 9, 2009

    Cyprus Customs

    Filed under: Local Customs — pikrides @ 9:49

    Local Customs

    Cypriot local customs include a variety of traditions. Both classical and modern art are well represented on Cyprus. The Syrtos is the most popular folk dance on Cyprus. Festivals are an important part of Cypriot culture. Cyprus flea markets are an adventure all their own. The local craftspeople of Cyprus are proud of their handicraft heritage and continue to keep alive the traditional skills needed to create such fine pieces of work. Cypriot hospitality is legendary…

    Cyprus meze -

    Filed under: National cuisine — pikrides @ 8:05

    Cyprus mezes

      The first time you experience Cypriot cuisine your taste buds will be treated to an experience you’re never likely to forget. A unique blend of Greek, African and Middle Eastern dishes come together in a sparkling array of Cypriot gastronomy that is simply out of this world! From pastries soaked in locally produced honey to fresh kalamari and the Cypriot meat speciality - Kleftico, there is seemingly no end of choice on the menus of restaurants and tavernas right across the island.

    Meze, which is served at most traditional eateries on Cyprus, is something every visitor must try at least once when on the island. Comprising of around 30 mini-dishes, meze is a cosmopolitan array of Cypriot delicacies that form a complete meal. It provides a little taste of everything, and is a great way to explore the many varied types of local foods for which Cyprus is famous. Meze is normally offered as meat dishes, fish dishes or a combination of both