01-05-17 Family Feast for Protomayā

Monday 1st May 2017

Our first experience of Greece’s traditional festival Protomayā and we love it! May Day (as its translated into English) has its roots in ancient times where the Greeks celebrated nature, flowers, the harvest and Spring abundance – Summer’s victory over Winter. As the first day in May has been declared a public holiday here, people traditionally go to the countryside, the seaside or mountains for picnics, to fly kites and to gather wild flowers. Here in usually sleepy Saronītha our tarvernas became packed and our beaches full of holiday makers from Athens.

Our host Giorgio treating us to a feast at ZĀHOS

I noticed so many Greeks today picking wild flowers from our craggy yet fertile shoreline. We followed suit! The flowers mumma Dora collected will be bunched up and hung on our door in a way to welcome nature and all things bountiful.

Aliki cuddles

Maios (May) the last month of Spring took its name from the Goddess Maja, a goddess who took her name from the ancient word Maia, the nurse and mother. May, according to Greek folklore, has two meanings: The good and the bad, rebirth and death. The custom celebrates the final victory of the summer against winter.

Lunch with his cousins

This day was also dedicated to the goddess of agriculture Dimitra and her daughter Persephone, who on ths day emerges from the under world lorded over by fallen god Hades. Persephone on May 1 comes back to earth. And her emergence from the Hades marks the blooming of nature and birth of summer.

Bribery to get a selfie

As for our clan the day was certainly not so dramatic. We did however manage to visit every person we know in Saronītha and be visited upon by various aunts, uncles, cousins. Firstly we had my cousin Vicky over to spend a dedicated hour with Kingsley. They played puzzles and he showed her all the new books we bought together in Glifăda. Next Marīna popped over and as a squad we all head over to Vicky’s so that the little cousins can a) drink their milk and b) play. By 12:30 we’re all at Mrs Maria’s place for icecreams and lo! Thĕo Giorgio has arrived from Athens. With most of the family in one spot and with such good tidings among us, it is fixed then – Giorgio is treating all for a family feast to bring in Protomayă.

Definitely his female cousin favourite – Aliki

Its to ZĀHOS we repair to, Kingsley and I by foot/buggy (I am certain he will be knackered by 5pm and will be pleased to be pushed home). What was ordered by our seemingly starving table of 10 was a meat-lover’s dream – chicken, lamb, veal, beef, pork – and thankfully the chicken and chips I ordered (forced to order by Giorgio) was half eaten by a surprisingly ravenous Kingsley. In fact he was the best behaved he’s ever been happily accepting mouthfuls from all the adults and two children at the table.

After a full two hours of eating far too much we all discreetly burped (Kingsley yelled WEE then 40 minutes later KAKĀ KAKĀ!) picked flowers lazily and slunk home, Kingsley in the buggy (no resistance!) of course. Having an hour in front of us I decided to ‘walk it off’. And so by 7pm our first Protomayā draws to a close: Kingsley and I in bed, his school week starting up again tomorrow.

Wondering for how long I’ll be able to carry Kingsley