Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Everyone!

I  wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Enjoy the Greek Sweets Calendar 2013 that I made for you. I hope you like it. Don't drool on the keyboard, your computer won't be happy. There are other calendars in the Free Stuff Section also: Cute Cats and Dogs and Greek Modern Painters
See you next year!:) 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zorba the Greek - Sirtaki

It had been a surprise for me to find out that Sirtaki, the world known dance form Zorba the Greek, with Anthony Queen, is Greek inspired but not really Greek.
The choreography of the dance was created in 1964 for the movie and it is based on various Greek traditional dances. The name of the dance comes from the verb "serno"(σερνω) which means "to drag". It comes from the fact that during the dance the feet are almost always close to the ground, seaming they are dragged. The "aki" at the end of the word implies a diminutive.  

According to Guinness World Record Book the biggest Sirtaki dance took place in Volos, Greece on the 31st of august 2012. It united 5.614 people aged between 14 and 89 that danced for 5 minutes.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Greek-Romanian Cold Treatment

And now, along with this exquisite cold weather with 92% humidity in the air and real feel of minus god knows how much, guess what... totally unsurprisingly, everyone is sick. Even my teacher from school called in sick yesterday. 
That's not me but it could as well be
This Monday my boyfriend came home feeling sick. You know, the usual: head ache, throught ache, chest pain, a bit of fever. I considered myself lucky because for a couple of days I didn't get any symptoms and I even started fantasizing that I won't at all. 

That happened till yesterday when it all started with a slight throught pain. And then I remembered something I read on Facebook a few days ago and I found very funny:

"Insanity does not run in our family, it strolls taking the time to get to know each and every one of us personally".

It was the same with this cold. I couldn't pass over to me so had to first dedicate all its time and effort to by boyfriend(who brought it home in the first place!!) and only then it could pass its gracious self to me. 

But no worries, tonight we're gonna treat it in the traditional Greek-Romanian manner with boiled țuica and τσιπουρο. Hic!

Tomorrow we'll still have a headache but from a different reason:))

Monday, December 10, 2012

Greece Frozen

There is this very popular song in Greece that says "It's never cold in Greece. Here, the weather had never been cold" (Δεν Κανει Κρυο στη Ελλαδα). Well, that's not exactly true. I just came from outside and I'm still in de-freeze mode.

If you look outside you don't really expect it to be cold. It's nice and sunny but there are 0 Celsius degrees at this time and a real feel of -6 plus a really "refreshing" wind.

I must admin I have been warned so it was not that much of a shock when i went out of the house but, the real shock was when I got to the street market. There was something wrong, something missing but I couldn't put my finger on it from the beginning. The market was quiet! I have never in my life went into a quiet Greek street market.

There are always people shouting their offers, asking you to come check their products, arguing...Now, nothing, just silence!

Not that many people in the market either. The few brave ones that had the courage to get out of their houses were in a great hurry to buy what they need and go home. No long talks in the middle of the road while cars are honking, no old ladies hitting and pushing you because you are in their way, no long negotiations or discussions with the sellers...nothing.. Everyone was frozen, moving and talking as little as possible, thing that in Greece is unimaginable. I had never happened before.

It was a "refreshing" alternative though from the daily hassle. I'm starting to wish there was cold weather more often in Greece.

Here is the song I was telling you about.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Bouzouki in Pulp Fiction

Yesterday at school we had a lesson about Greek traditional music, or at least one of the traditional kinds of music that are in Greece, called "ρεμπετικο"        [rebetiko]. The main instrument used in accompanieg the songs is called "μπουζουκι" [bouzouki] and it looks like this:  
The music was, for a lot of years, outlawed because it was talking subjects that were sensitive to the political system of that time and/or because the people singing it were themselves outlaws.  Probably the most known "rebetiko" song "Mousourloum" end even you know it. You just don't know it yet:)
The original Mousourloum has no known writer and it goes like this:

Doesn't ring any bells, does it? Well, listen to it again and them compare with this:

The main theme from Pulp Fiction is made after the Mousourloum and the name of the song is Misirlou which is a slightly Americanized version of Mousourloum.

Monday, December 3, 2012

When Hollywood Meets Ancient Greece


Here is what happens when you have a lot of imagination but not that much common sense and an architect who does exactly what the client says no matter how kitschy.

Hollywood stars on the ceiling, caryatids, archaic representations on the pillars, renaissance angels, informative tables with names exiled philosophers at the entrance and-most important-smooth integration into the architectural style of the neighborhood.

As for the colors? Dark blue, dark red and gold "join" forces to produce the momentum needed.


No, it's not the same building, although the similarities are more than obvious. Again we have Hollywood stars in balconies and caryatids (constant values these days) while on the top of the building Zeus with his spear stands proud on top of the ... Olympic Games symbol. 


A mini pantheon with busts of ancient philosophers gracing the entrance, where there is also a marble sign explaining the ignorant visitor or passerby subversive concept of the house. 

According to exclusive information, on the ground floor there is a construction shop. It's obvious that the owner found the best way to advertise his business.

And last but not least ...The Parthenon of Rhodes

Completely loyal to the ancient architectural ideals, a real ode to antiquity, this house is to remember. Ancient representations, columns, ancient style decorations and of course the temple. No, no, the house doesn't have a temple. The house IS a temple.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Being Anthropo (Ανθρωπο) Use to Mean

One way or another we all heard about anthropology, anthropology or other similarly complicated words that have one thing in common, the root "anthropo". 
It's not hard to guess that the origin of that name is Greek. Today, in contemporary Greek, "anthropos" means "person" in general. 

What is interesting about it though is what is use to mean in Ancient Greece.
The current Greek word "anthropos" (ανθρωπος) is formed out of two other ancient words "ano" (άνω) and  "throsko" (θρώσκω). The literal translation would be "the one who looks up and moves up or forward". Meaning the open minded one, the one who is capable and willing to go higher. 

It's funny and disturbing in the same time to look around us and realize whom are we calling "anthropi" these days.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting for the Barbarians - Constantine Cavafy

The more I read Cavafy, the more I like his poem and his approach on the world. I generally don't read that much poetry but every once in a while there is something that really catches my eye. The first Cavafy poem I read was Ithaka. It is probably the most known poem by Cavafy being translated in all major languages.

The one that I'm writing today though is called "Waiting for the Barbarians". If you didn't know it before I hope you will enjoy the swift criticism with perfume of irony that this poem, written at the beginning of the 20th century brings, being just as current now as it was then.


Constantine Cavafy - Waiting For The Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

            The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
            He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
            replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

            Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
            And some who have just returned from the border say
            there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How the Europeans see Each Other

This is the work of Bulgarian artist Yanko Tsvetkov and it shows how Europeans see each other, now that the subject of European unity is a current topic. 
So, let's start with how the Greeks see all the other countries in Europe and we'll work our way up from there.

Europeans according to the Greeks  

Europeans according to the Romanians 
 Europeans according to the Germans

Europeans according to the Bulgarians

Europeans according to the Italians
Europeans according to the French
  Europeans according to the English

  Europeans according to the Spanish
  Europeans according to the Turkish

Europeans according to the Swiss
Europeans according to the Polish

Europeans according to the U.S.
 Other interesting maps from the same artist:

Cristal Ball View of Europe

Europeans according to their Hight


PS Visit the Contest Here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

17th of November 1973

A date that is celebrated to this day by protests, 17th of November 1973 is the "beginning of the end" for the dictatorship in Greece. The military dictatorship, "the junta", lead by Georgios Papadopoulos was instated in Greece in 1967 and lasted until 1974.

The demonstration against the regime started in February 1973 but the most important stand took place on the 17th of November when students, but not only, barricaded themselves in the Polytechnic University singing the national anthem and reciting their vow:
“We students of the Higher Education Institutions swear to the name of freedom and we must fight to the end to ensure our:  a) academic freedoms, b) university asylum, c) the withdrawal of all repressive laws and ordinances.”

That evening, police and military forces went inside the university followed by three tanks and using live ammunition. To this day nobody knows the actual number of deaths. According to different sources it varies from 16 t0 83.

The demonstration have been diapered but persecution of the participants continued.
Their stand inspired a whole country to stand against and fight the dictatorship. Less then a year later, they were to be successful. 

The university asylum right exists in Greece and it is respected to this day. As the name says, the authorities are not allowed inside the university and the university campus under any pretext.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ancient Olympia

This is a movie I made for my Greek class this week. I hope you like it.

In the order of apparition: 
Hera's Temple
Work Shop of Pheidias
The Temple of Zeus
Hermes of Praxiteles
Nike of Paeonios
Barble Bull -  Nymphaion
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
Reconstruction of the Statue of Zeus
The Chariot Race of Pelops and Oinomaos

Monday, November 12, 2012

Trip to Elatochori

Yesterday we really wanted to go for a hike somewhere close and easy. Olympus is close but not that easy so we decided to go in an area called Elatochori, pretty close to Olympus also.

We read nice articles about it, we saw a lot of beautiful pictures... We didn't find any relevant hiking maps but then again when did that stop us? We were hoping we are going to find an info center or a willing local to give us some details. 

Up to there the road was generally uneventful, a lot of highway with little view. The more we were approaching Elatochiri the more vivid the colors of the forest got and the more spectacular the view. 

The village is almost deserted at this time. Most of the "action" happens in winter because there is a sky slope close by. So, there goes our hope for a touristic information center. We did find though some very willing to help locals that recommended us to go to a beautiful waterfall called Sotiris which was supposed to be close by. They also suggested we should not go walking around since there are no actual hiking maps that include the area.

But, since we came for a hike there was no way we were going back without it just because a nice local advised us not to. We left the car behind near a spring thinking that that would help us find it easier when we come back, we took the backpack, our boots and started walking on the first path we saw, looking for the waterfall, going..well...going straight for a while... and then up.. and then...we found our selves at a dead end. 

How often does that happen on the mountain? Paths that lead to dead ends? Since we decided there is no turning back we manage to eventually find a path... the only trick about  it was that it wasn't a human one... it was a goat path. Well, as good as any when you need it. 

If we are to make abstraction of the fact the we had no idea where we were or where we were going for that matter I must say I really enjoyed the view, the autumn colors and the chilly air. 

Three hours and a half later we were still looking for the waterfall but this time far more tired and starting to worry that we won't be able to find the car by night fall. But just when hope started to fade out we stumbled, literally, on an indicator to the Sotiris waterfall. We ran to have a look since we didn't really have a lot of time to spare. We've been searching for it the whole afternoon and now that we found it we just had time to take a short look. I believe that was the most "chased" "waterfall in history. 

As an old Romanian proverb says, "At the blind stork God makes its nest" we managed to find the car just in time.
Passing through the village again we decided to have a warm chocolate at the only pub we could find open and this is how it looked.

Yummy, ha?

PS Don't forget about the ongoing contest of this month: Give Greece a Hero

Monday, November 5, 2012

Give Greece a Hero!

From the Ancient times to the modern days, from mythology to reality Greek heroes found their honorable place in history.

It’s time for Greece to give the world another hero to fight the beast that has been plundering and terrorizing our world for the last 5 years.Insinuating at first, she caught a hold on our lives so strong that we can barely breathe.

Her name is Krissia and everybody knows her true face for we see her everyday amongst us causing pain and anguish while harvesting people’s bitter tears. 

Krissia is a daemon as old as time itself but don’t be fooled by her elderly appearance for her powers grow along with the age. Defeated in the old times by knights in shining armor or by cunning witches she retreated in her underground lair plotting against humanity, planning her return and waiting for the best time strike again in a moment of weakness.

Before our time, her moment came in 1929 along with Wall Street Crush. Then, she plunged upon the un expecting world sinking her sharp teeth into unsuspecting victims to feed her insatiable blood thirst. She kept the world in her iron fist grasp for four agonizing years.

Now, she crawled again out from her creepy deep lair to do her worst. 

Stop her reign of terror! Give Greece a Hero! 

"Give Greece a Hero"
5.11.2012 - 20.12.2012
Create your own hero:
1. Click on the picture to change it
2. Click on the weapon to change it
3. Clink on the power to change it
4. Click on the name to change it
5. Click on the supra-name to change it 

6. Write the hero's objective - use your imagination
When you found the right combination register your hero by writing your name and email address at the bottom of the game in the specified areas. 
7. Click "Submit"
8. If you're proud with your work, print screen the page and share it on Facebook for your friends to see and give them a change to build their own hero.(this is not mandatory) 

What do you win? 
You get an official "It's All Greek To Me" T-shirt that you can see here:
and half a kilo of siropiasta (Σιροπιαστά) - syrup sweets from Terkenlis. Here is the link, you can start drooling from now.  
If the winner is from outside the European Union, unfortunately we won't be able to send the sweets. 

How do you win?
The hero with the most imaginative mission wins. 
Missions that are outside the purpose of the game or are vulgar will be disqualified. 

 I own no rights over the pictures used in the game.I thank the creators/designers for them. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The "No" Day

This weekend has been very eventful in Thessaloniki. Except from the celebration of 100 years of Independence from the Turks, yesterday, on the 28th of October, the whole of Greece celebrated the "NO" Day(Η Μέρα του Οχι").

As a foreigner you might ask yourself why would a whole nation celebrate a negation but it might make a bit more sense once you know where it comes from.

In the early morning of October 28t 1940, the Greek Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas received an ultimatum from of the Italian Ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi. The ultimatum demanded Greece to allow Axis forces free passage and the occupation of certain unspecified strategic locations or else, face immediate military repercussions.

Allegedly, the answer of the Greek Prime mister was a laconic "Oxi"("no") in reality his answer was "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then it's war"). A couple of hours later, the Italian troops stationed at the Albanian border entered Greece and launched a full scale attack. 

No one expected Greece to resist not to mention fight back and yet by mid December 1940 Greek army pushed the Axis forces back to the border and even recovered some Albanian territories.
This was the first Allied victory in the Second World War and the first ray of hope.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The "No" Day

This weekend has been very eventful in Thessaloniki. Except from the celebration of 100 years of Independence from the Turks, yesterday, on the 28th of October, the whole of Greece celebrated the "NO" Day(Η Μέρα του Οχι").

As a foreigner you might ask yourself why would a whole nation celebrate a negation but it might make a bit more sense once you know where it comes from.

In the early morning of October 28t 1940, the Greek Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas received an ultimatum from of the Italian Ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi. The ultimatum demanded Greece to allow Axis forces free passage and the occupation of certain unspecified strategic locations or else, face immediate military repercussions.

Allegedly, the answer of the Greek Prime mister was a laconic "Oxi"("no") in reality his answer was "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then it's war"). A couple of hours later, the Italian troops stationed at the Albanian border entered Greece and launched a full scale attack. 

No one expected Greece to resist not to mention fight back and yet by mid December 1940 Greek army pushed the Axis forces back to the border and even recovered some Albanian territories.
This was the first Allied victory in the Second World War and the first ray of hope.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thessaloniki - One Hundred Years of Independence

The city of Thessaloniki celebrates tomorrow 100 hundred years of independence from the Turks. October 27th 1912 is the date in which the Greek troops entered Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki 100 Years of Independence

But that didn't just happen over night. Taking advantage of a wick and unorganized Ottoman Empire due the revolution that started in its interior in 1908, the Balkan states decided to take back from their occupied territories and, why not, more.This was the spark that started the First Balkan War.

Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece made an alliance, called the Balkan League, to fight together against the Turks and retrieve their territories. The League underestimated the Greek army's strength considering it weak after being defeated by the Turks so easily in the Greek-Turkish war from 1897 but they were in dire need of their fleet. Leaving the sea unguarded for the Ottoman Empire to transport troops from Asia to Greece could have cost them the war.

In October 1912 allies start moving towards the boarder releasing territories from under Turkish occupation. The Greek prime minister at that time, Eleftherios Venizelos understood the the aim of their Bulgarian allies, which was to gain access to the sea buy occupying Aegean Macedonia so he insisted that the Greek troops make haste towards the city of Thessaloniki.

On the 27th of October 1912 the Greek troops enter victoriously in the city of Thessaloniki. A few day later the Bulgarian troops reach the city also but they were not granted access in it. 

Even before the Treaty of London from May 1913, that marked the end of the First Balkan War, the Bulgarians expressed their dissatisfaction regarding the way the territories were shared and they were prepared to intervene military against their ex allies. That set the stage for the next war in the Balkans, that were known at the time as the "gunpowder barrel of Europe".

I found this National Geographic documentary on YouTube if anyone is interested in more historical details. It's called "National Geographic - The Doubling of Greece 1912-1913" and it has 6 parts ( Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tzon Kennenti (John Kennedy) Street in Thessaloniki

John Kennedy, with his Greek version Tzon Kennenti, has a street named after him in Thessaloniki. Until now, nothing out of ordinary. If you look on the map though, there is something special about it in the typical Greek manner. 
Tzon Kennenti Street
As you can see, Tzon Kennenti (John Kennedy) street goes up to a point then it disappears and then it appears again. 
I discovered this the hard way. I was looking for an address on Kennenti street on a dark rainy evening and I found myself, half way through, facing... a house. 

John Kennedy Street
Yes, I'm not joking. The reason Kennedy street is interrupted is because there is a house in the middle of the road. I don't know if the house was there first and the municipality decided to appeal to the adventurous nature of people and made the street like that or if the street was there first and one fine day a person decided to just build a house in the middle of the street. It's hard to tell since they are both very plausible options in Greece. Either way, I found this very funny but only after I managed to get home and get dry.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And the T-shirt Goes To...

We finally have a winning t-shirt for the blog!!!And that is...... Ta Ta Tam!!!
The Logical Schema design. 
In total there were 18 valid votes, out of these, 8 were for this design. 
I want to thank everyone for participating and for helping me choose. To show my gratitude, I decided to have an extra price, a second a t-shirt for the first runner up. 

First of all, the winning number was written on a different blog before the contest started and it is 682. To make sure you can check it here.
And now....the winners are:
First winner is Shock  - who will receive a t-shirt with the "Twisted Roads"
First runner up is, who also gets a t-shirt, is Mer who will receive a t-shirt with the winning design.

Stay tuned for the next competition that is going to start in November:) Then you'll get to create your own hero.

Thanks again everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fatebook the Gyros of Fate

Fatebook the Gyros of Fate
The first time I saw this logo was on a delivery bike that passes by me in a big rush. I didn't have time to reach for my phone and take a picture.

As a person who speaks mainly English these days, my first thought was that the name comes from the English words "fate" and "book" and they were using a "Facebook" look alike logo to help people recognize them easier. Not that this would be in any way legal but who cares, we're in Greece. Then again why would you need a delivery bike if your business involves "fate". It's kinda complicated to deliver a kilo and a half of "fate". (Though with how strong the church is in Greece they must have found a way to buy and sell that also, maybe even internet delivery:D )

Then, I had a sudden wake up call. I'm in Greece! Here things are never what they seam. So, apparently, "fate" (read "f a t e") comes from the Greek "φατε" (read "f a t e") being the Imperative form of the verb eat (φαω). You didn't see that coming, did you? 

Finally, the place is a Gyradico. A local kind of fast food where they serve Gyros. That would give a more logical explanation the delivery bike also:)

If you find yourself in Greece make sure you try a gyros, not necessarily from "Fatebook" who's recipe I haven't tasted yet, but do try it. For a more tasty experience, try gyros from a northern city. People there tend to be more giving with the salads and sauces so the taste is going to be richer. As a second thought you should consider having your cardiologist on speed dial considering how much cholesterol it has. :) Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Delphi - The Bellybutton of the Ancient World

I always knew that Delphi is a real place but since I never had the opportunity of visiting it, I had this impression of it being more mythological real, a place in between the worlds, in between earth and sky and being claimed by both. 

Recently I had the chance to visit Delphi and I must tell you, I wasn't very far from reality. Delphi looks suspended in mid air, staring at the Gods while pulling the strings of the humans. 

The ancient Greeks seem to have been very inspired in choosing this place. The view from it is breath taking even now, after thousands of years. 
Delphi, was not only a place of Gods, temples and prayers, it was also a very important cultural and economical center. Since it was sacred ground and no war could touch it, arts, sports, businesses, they all developed and flourished undisturbed. You can think of ancient Delphi a bit like the New York of our times.

This place was the center of the Earth or at least that is what they used to believe. 
The Bellybutton of the World

One of the many legends regarding this rock says that Zeus, wanting to find  the center of the Earth, sent his eagles around the world. When they found the place, Zeus threw a stone to mark it and for everyone to know. 
Another legend, one that I like more, is that this rock is the one that Rhea, Zeus' mother, gave to Chronos to swallow in order to save her son. 

 A funny story about this stone is that in Greek the bellybutton of the world is called "ο οφαλος της Γης" read "o ofalos". Since "ofalos" and "o falos" are pretty close you will probably have the surprise of people in Greece knowing the rock to be "the falus" of the world and not the bellybutton.

Apollo's Temple
The Temple of Apollo was also the home to Pythis, Oracle of Delphi, the most important oracle in the ancient world. The Pythia was priestess of Apollo and was chosen only when the previous Oracle had died. The woman chose to be The Pythia had to cut all ties with her previous life, even if she was married or had children, and dedicate her life to Apollo.

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Horn Sign

Yesterday I revisited the Thessaloniki Archeological Museum and something pretty odd drew my attention, the "sign of the horn" known these days as "the devil's horns".

Paul Stanley-KISS :)
making the Horn sign

While I'm used on seeing this gesture being made by rock stars I must admit I was a little by surprised to see it on a first century B.C. bas-relief.

This is a picture I took Yesterday while in the museum. As you can notice, the lady sited on the chair is making the horn sign with her left hand while pointing it to the ground. This bas-relief represents a grave stone made by the mother (sited) for her dead son (standing). Why was she doing that sign? Was it bad luck for the living to appear alongside the dead and she needed to protect herself? Was she trying to ensure the safe passage of her son to the other world? One thing is for sure though, this sign was used for keeping away or fighting of evil.

Tomb Stone Bas-Relief - 1st Century BC
Back in those days, magic had a very strong grasp over people. Amulets and protective signs were of daily use. The sign of the horn was a protective gesture and also an implicit curse since in the Mediterranean area (but not only) fighting of evil would mean threatening to curse or cursing it.

Even from the beginnings, magic has been associated with the Moon (Artemis is the Goddess of hunt but also of the magical arts and of the Moon). A waxing moon, or a growing moon was believed to have a positive impact on people lives. It was auspicious for new business, for new beginning. On the other hand, waning moon was considered to be unfavorable to any activities, what we would call "unlucky" these days.
Waning moon
While there are not that many theories about the origins of this gesture, the most believable is that the sign of the horn bares the meaning of the waning moon being a curse and a protective gesture in the same time.

The direction of the fingers indicates the direction in which you send the curse. In that bas-relief, being pointed at the ground, it meant protection from the underground forces by cursing them. In Greek mythology, the underground was the home of Hades, one of the twelve Olympian Gods and probably the less loved of them all since he was in charge of the dead and their souls. 

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Friday, September 28, 2012

Expressing "Yes" and "No" in Greek

The basic "yes" and "no" words in Greek are pretty simple to pronounce
"yes" is "ne" while "no" is "ohi".
Exactly as the nice lady is explaining in the videos bellow.

What no language course prepares you for is how Greeks really use them because here body language is most of the times more important then verbal expression. According to statistics only 35% of the communication is verbal, the rest consists in gestures, face expressions, body language in general. In general, Greeks tend to be expansive when they talk, their hands are restless while their faces very expressive.

Now, getting back to our sheep...Expressing "yes" and "no" in Greece is a bit more complicated then just saying it. This might sound a bit like "Twister" to you because I didn't find any videos to go with my explanation but I hope I'll manage to make myself understood. 

Yes - is pronounced "Ne"- but in a conversation agreeing will probably be expressed by a slow downwards movement of the head on one side while closing his or her eyes. The person might also say "ne" but it's not necessary, the meaning is implicit. 

No - is pronounced "Ohi" - In a conversation though the gesture accompanies or even replaces it. Saying "no" implies a short and quick upward movement of the chin, leaving your head to lean a bit on the back. The movement is sometimes accompanied by the rising of the eyebrows and a short "tz" or "tzouk". This movement may be so quick that you won't even notice it so pay close attention.

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greece is Boiling Again

Today in Greece there is a national strike. While I admire their sense of unity I can't help but wonder what effect is this going to have on the internal policy, if any. 
You see, it took me a while to understand this but I think I finally got it. Greeks in general are of rebellious nature. They feel the need to protest loudly when they think their rights are being stepped on. 

So, with the current situation, demonstration became a very frequent fact. The sad thing is that the more they demonstrate the less they are heard and the more violent the protests get, the more they lose the support of people from outside the country who were siding with their cause. 

In Thessaloniki things didn't get out of hand, yet, even though they were expecting more protesters here in the north then in the south but in Athens...Athens is a totally different story. There the blood is boiling.


I wish I could tell you that this is not as bad as it looks. I know that most of the times these are just isolated incidents that the press catches on tape and are spread like wild fire all over the world because violence sells but these look pretty generalized.

The videos sources are taken from

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Greek Jedi Priests

Today I decided to write another article and I started researching a theme I've been wanting to write about for a long time BUT I stumbled about this picture and I just couldn't help it. I had to post it.

Greek Jedi Priests
 Greek Jedi Priests!
On the holly war of defending their right to not declare or pay taxes since the dawn of Christianity

This picture is taken from

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pankration the Ancient Greek Martial Art

The Spartans were never known as being the most friendly nor the most welcoming of people but they were known for being the best fighters among the Greek tribes. Their own existence evolved around wars and warfare in general so training for battle was their main activity. 

Pankration was called the martial art the they created that was later on introduced in the Olympic games. But since Spartans didn't know the meaning of "play" or "sport", their only aim being to kill, they weren't accepted in the Olympian fights. 

Don't think that the Olympian games were in any way soft. Death was part of the routine there also. There have even been a player who won the Olympic games post mortem. His opponent got him into a strangulation that he couldn't get out of, giving up was not an option since pride was a man's best value, so with his last strength he broke his opponents fingers. Pierced by the pain of broken bones the fighter gave up and the winner was declared... post mortem. They realized later on that, because of the suffixation, he died. 

So the Olympic games were a pretty serious thing, still, Spartans were not allowed. They had the general tendency of not playing well with others. 

The things we know today about Pankration are taken from literature sources or from paintings and sculptures. Unfortunately there is no continuance to Pankration to these day. Pankration was forbidden from practice by Emperor Theodosios in 393 along with the Olympic games. Most probably it hadn't been practiced ever since then.

The one who reintroduced Pankration to the world in the 1960' was Demetrios Arvanitis. He studied the techniques and introduced it as the first Mixed Martial Arts.

I found some youtube videos that I think is going to help you make an opinion about Pankration far better when whatever I would say.

This could also be interesting to see.

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Monday, September 10, 2012


On Saturday I went to an open air music festival organized in Thessaloniki. My expectations were not very high since I'm nor very keen on Greek music in general but I thought of giving it a try anyway. 

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this band (I never heard of before) of particularly nuts people that appeared on stage wearing kilts, being as loud as loud can be but most of all enjoying what they were doing so much that is was contagious. I found later on that they are called Koza Mosta.

Balkan rhythms started filling the thick evening air and along with it rose tones of dust from people of all ages dancing, jumping, singing, some even dancing barefoot. At some point the dust was so thick you couldn't breath but that didn't seem to bother anyone since the music was so intense and the rhythm so electrifying.

I made a few videos, I'll post two from the beginning of the concert and another one close to its end with a pogo "demonstration".
I hope you'll enjoy, I know I did.

For those interested I saw a poster today in the city saying that they'll have another concert in Thessaloniki on the 18th of September. 

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