This week was end of February and beginning of March, the end of winter and start of Lent. It’s a time of year for spring cleaning, gardening and painting. The island starts to wake up from winter and everyone gets ready for the tourist season ahead.
Sunday was carnival across Greece and here the whole village came out to celebrate, all the children were in costumes and many of the adults too. There were small floats created out of old pick up trucks and quad bikes. One thing I’ve never seen anywhere else is that most of them had BBQ’s going complete with a few pork chops and souvlakis.
Starting at about 12, the parade went down the little village high street, each float finished at the taverna at the end where they performed a dance or skit. The village was full of people watching and once the floats had finished people are dancing in the street, eating souvlaki, drinking and generally having fun. By late afternoon most had wandered back home with some very tired children, though a few would carry on in the tavernas and bars.
When someone dies in a village the whole village shows respect to the family, any parties are cancelled and live music isn’t heard. Even in the height of the season bars will turn down their music and dancing will stop. This year the village of Lardos cancelled it’s carnival. Many families still wanted to celebrate so the children and a couple of floats were brought up the hill to our village instead. It’s a really community occasion.
Now everyone will be planning their costumes for next year…
Following on from carnival it was Clean Monday, throughout Greece it’s the start of Lent and a day to eat clean. That means eating no meat and nothing with a back bone. Everyone was grilling octopus, dipping lagana bread in taramasalata and flying kites. At least that’s the tradition in much of Greece.
In the town of Archangelos it’s celebrated slightly differently. There’s still the food and we did share a wonderful lunch. But Clean Monday here is a unique carnival. On this day people dress up and black up. Traditionally I believe they used the soot from the fires mixed with olive oil, everyone is dressed in old and dirty clothes and they drive the most beat up vehicles they have around the town.
The main high street has a strip of bars, tavernas, coffee shops and a few take aways. Each one had huge speakers outside pumping out the loudest Greek music they could. There were BBQ’s going and lots of dancing. We all dressed up as old hippies and I had a go at face painting for the first time.
This video gives you an idea of what the day is like. It’s the first time I’ve tried to put clips together using iMovie so it’s a little amateur. After dark the, children went home, the streets got more packed with people dancing and it all got a lot dirtier. It’s a fun day and something completely unique to experience if you’re ever on the island for Clean Monday.
After that start to the week I needed some calm and on Wednesday I got calm and creative at workshop in Lindos.
March came with warm sunshine and a rise in temperature. It was like someone had decided winter was over and flipped a switch. This is a great time of year to explore the island before the tourists come back in April. The streets of Lindos were empty as I walked through to the workshop.
Spending an afternoon creating things with like minded people really is one of life’s joys. I’d decided to take along a large pebble we use as a doorstop and paint that, then inspired by carnival and flowers I painted a skull. The workshop was run by Nikki you can find out more on the Facebook page for Khameleon – Trash to Treasure.
Walking back through the alleyways to the car I came across a very friendly local cat with David Bowie eyes.
Thursday morning we had a some much needed rain. The last 2 winters have been very dry and the island really needs a lot more rain before the crowds come for summer. There’s a lot of swimming pools and showers that run all summer long. Last summer several mountain villages that are reliant on local springs ran out of water and if we don’t see some substantial rain this month the island could have problems once more.
Going around the island there are now flowers everywhere, March and April are the most beautiful months here. That one morning of rain meant that on our Friday walk the bare ground had been transformed into a green meadow covered in wild flowers. My brain was still hurting after Greek class earlier and walking is a great way to clear the mind and just enjoy what nature has provided around us.
Most of the week was spent either spring cleaning the house or sorting out the garden so on Saturday it was good to head up to town and catch up with a friend in the holistic centre and do a bit of shopping. Living here we always expect things to be slightly different, but heading towards the supermarket entrance I was a little surprised to see a cockerel and his 2 hens wandering around.
Now it’s time for me to head out to meet a friend. She is leaving the island soon and heading back to the UK. That’s a part of expat life that not many realise there’s always seems to be someone leaving.
What’s been happening in your life this week? If you’ve enjoyed reading this, found it useful and want to see more weekly updates of island life please comment and share. Thank you