Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Wrath of Titans or How the Greeks Became Christians

Yesterday I’ve seen “The Wrath of Titans”, a movie about which I’ve only heard bad critics but I decided to see it anyway. What can I say, I’m a sucker for lost causes. It’s supposed to be based on Greek mythology but after the repeated rape of Greek mythology in “Clash of Titans” and “Immortals” there was not much hope left in me.
The movie starts and we are reminded of how Perseus killed the Kraken. It doesn’t even matter that the Kraken had never crossed paths with Greek mythology. It’s a fancy name that deserves to be used in a movie, or two, or ten.
Who's he suppose to be? St. George?
The story is that, frustrated by his father’s favoritism to Perseus, Ares joins forces with Hades in order to release Chronos . What’s wrong with this idea? Well, let’s see. Chronos was the one that, feeling threatened by the fact that his kids will grow up and take his place, decided to eat them.  So, Zeus and Hades had shared their dad’s stomach once before. How probable it is that Hades would wish for another family reunion like this?

And talking about the family reunion, the only Olympian gods that we have in this movie are: Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hephaistos and  Ares. What happened to the other gods? There are Athena, Aphrodite, Hermes or  Apollo? By how bad this movie is going I think they died of boredom.
There is one thing that the people who made the movie really didn’t get about the gods. THEY WERE IMMORTAL! In this movie you have a god dieing every 15 minutes! Out of the five gods that are representing Olympus in this movie, the only one who survives is Hades.
The Death of the Gods and the Rise of the New Religion
The only conclusion I can reach is that according to this movie, the Greeks ran out of gods and started asking around for a new religion and that’s how they’ve stumbled upon Christianity (“Nice religion, we’ll take two” – since Greeks are twice as religious as every other Christian on the face of the earth having Mount Athos and all).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Greek Traffic Laws Unleashed

Some days ago, there was a news that appeared on the Greek sites about a guy who went to jail 30 days for driving without a license. Until now, nothing out of ordinary. What is truly interesting though is what the guy was driving and the answer is: a bicycle. 

So, yes good people, in Greece you can get a fine (or go to jail)  for driving your bicycle without a permit. You might make the mistake of thinking that since Greece is part of the European Union and in all the other countries of the EU you don't need a permit, you won't need a permit in Greece either. But then again, you forget what I always tell you: Greece is Special!

Initially I thought this is a joke but apparently it's not. There is a law in Greece which says that bicycle drivers need to have a permit and it actually overrules the European law.

My advice to you would be to stay away from Igoumenitsa if you have a bicycle and you want to ride it. I hope that the sudden interest for this law will not spread all over the country and they will manage to contain it or even eradicate it from Igoumenitsa also.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beginning of Summer in Greece

I came back to Greece the other day and, I don't know why, I was hoping for a a more breathable temperature. In Romania, when I left there were 37 degrees, today in Thessaloniki the car thermometer showed 43 degrees. So, no chance! 
Bottom line, SUMMER IS BACK and it's here to stay with the good and the bad. I must tell you that the temperature of the sea is just perfect so whomever didn't go for a swim yet, SHOULD!

There are also not so nice things happening because of the heat. Today we were passing by a stores area that is near some fields. The fields caught fire because of the sun and so did some back yards. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Look on the Greek Elections from Today

At a first glimpse it seams that Nea Democratia is going to win these elections but then again, these are only 25% of the votes.

The alarming news is that after all the stands the Golden Dawn have pulled in the last months they still have chances of getting into the Parliament.

See Source

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Castra Piano Bar

I realized that I've been having this blog for a few months now and I have never talked about places I like in Thessaloniki. So, the first one I'll tell you about is Castra Piano Bar. This place has one of the most amazing views of the city. I really enjoy my coffee with a view so that makes it one of my favorite places.
Here is a small preview. The view by night is even more spectacular.
View of Thessaloniki from Castra Piano Bar

Friday, June 8, 2012

Greek Baptism

I mentioned in a previous article that the baptizing in Greece is an adventure.
Let’s start with the beginning…You know that simple thing you do: talk to a priest one day, get the baby without its consent the next, immerse it in water and Puf! the baby is baptized? Well…forget about it in Greece.

First of all, in Greece children are baptized as old as 7-8 even 9 months and up until that age most parents call their baby, “baby” because, since it is not baptized, tradition states that they are not allowed to use any names.

From the moment the baby is born up until the baptizing, “The battle for the name” takes place. I have talked about it in a previous post. The closer the baptizing gets the more biting the battle becomes. Until the end when, traditionally, “There can be only one!”. Now day’s people start giving their kids two names also but traditionally it’s only one. It would be better if the name was a Christian one (apart from being the name from one of the grandparents) because otherwise the priest might not be very happy your choice.

One important element in the baptizing ceremony is the god parent. Tradition says that the best man at a wedding will be the godfather of the couple’s first child. I have no idea how it goes for the second or the third kid. I guess you just get to choose the god parents.
Before the ceremony, the god parent needs to prove his belonging to the Christian faith, at least on paper. He needs to obtain an official document stating the fact that he was baptized as Christian.

As a social event, the baptizing here in Greece is the equivalent of a wedding. Even the baby’s dress (costume if it’s a boy) costs at the level of a miniature wedding outfit. I’ve seen baptizing dresses for girls for 250-300E and they were not the most expensive.

From the religious point of view it’s a very good business. The god parent needs to pay the church  while the parent needs to pay the priest. That also might rise to 130-150E. And to think we are talking about a country in crisis.
Overall it seems that faith has become very expensive “habit” these days.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Some Odd Greek Names

Female names
AKANTHA Meaning “thorn”
ALALAShe is the sister of Ares, the personification of the war cry. The name literally means “war-like”
AMALTHEIA Means "to soothe".
(read Hariclo)
Meaning "graceful spinner”. This is the name of the nymph wife of Kheiron the centaur.
(read Xrisanthi)
It means “golden flower”
(read Dianthi)
EFTHALIA “Blooming”
ERATO Meaning "lovely." In mythology, this is the name of the muse of poetry
(read Evadne)
Eu "good, well" and adnos "holy," hence "good and holy."
EUPRAXIA “good conduct"
GORGOPHONEGorgo "grim" and phonos "murderer, slayer," hence "grim slayer.
KALLIGENEIAKallos "beauty" and genes "born," hence "beauty-born.
(read Klytemnestra)
Klytos "famous, praiseworthy," and mnestria "wooing," hence "famous for her suitors.
LEUKOTHEALeukos "white" and thea "goddess," hence "white goddess”.
(read Megera)
Meaning "grudge." In mythology, this is the name of one of the Furies.
(read Psihi)
Meaning “soul”
PTOLEMAMeaning "aggressive” or “warlike."
POLYMNIAMeaning “many hymns”.
THEOPHANIA Meaning "manifestation of God.”
TISIPHONE Tisis "retribution" and phone "murder," hence "murder-retribution
Male names
AGATHANGELOS Agathos "good" and angelos "angel," meaning "good angel"
AMARANTHOS Meaning "unfading"
APHRODISIOS Meaning "risen from the foam"
VOANERGES Meaning "sons of thunder"
DIONYSODOROS Meaning "gift of Dionysos
KADMOS Meaning "the East."
KALOGEROS Kalos "beautiful" and geron "elder," hence "beautiful elder"
LYKAON Meaning "wolf"
LYSISTRATOS Lysis "freeing, release" and stratos "army," hence "liberation army"
METROPHANES Meter "mother" and phanes "appearing, looking" hence "mother-looking"
NEOPTOLEMOS Neos "new" and polemos "war," hence "new war”
OLYMPIODOROS Olympos and the word doron "gift," hence "gift of Olympos”
(read Ophiuxos)
Meaning "serpent bearer”
PANTHERAS Pan "all" and therao "to hunt," hence "all-hunter – So that’s where the word “panther comes from…ahaaaaa…
PHOBOS Meaning "fear". In mythology, this is the name of a son of Ares.
PHRIXOS Word phrix, meaning " the shivering of skin from fear”.
(read Polydevkes)
Polys "much" and deukes "sweet," hence "very sweet
TELESPHOROS Meaning "bearing fruit”
THERISTÍS Meaning "mowing month”. It may also mean "the reaper"
XENOCRATES Xenos "foreign, strange," and kratos "power," hence "foreign power”