Monday 1st May 2017
For May Day (or protomayā) in Greece the festivities are colourful, traditional and filled with a sense of history. Food and family is the centre of attention as it was with us today: Kingsley and I spent the day being visited, visiting and eating at our taverna among the family.
Protomayā has its roots in ancient times. Its the first day of May and the celebration of Spring. May was named after the Roman goddess Maia which is the Greek word for midwife, nurse and mother. Ancient Greeks dedicated the fifth month of the year to Demeter the goddess of agriculture and her daughter Persephone who would return to her mother after spending the winter with Hades – her abductor – in the underworld.
One of the oldest Protomayā celebrations is the Anthesteria, the first ancient Greek flower festival. We saw scores of Greeks collecting flowers all day today. They’re either bunched together with a ribbon and hung upside down to dry or popped in a vase. The most classical interpretation of a particular tradition is still enacted on many Greek island where young ladies collect flowers, fill vases with water from wells then later bathe in the fragrant water they popped those flowers in.
Well we did none of that; we spent hours at each other’s apartments, serving food or being fed. It was breakfast #1 at our place with Vicky then breakfast #2 at her place with little Aliki then ice cream at Mrs Maria’s place before our 3pm late lunch together as a large family, at ZĀHOS.
We’re stuffed and I can’t think of anything worse than going home just yet with such a full stomach. So Kingsley and I stroll for over an hour. Thos stomach better be because of yiu know what…and not all of that chicken, bread and tzatzīki I ate…