Happy Independence Day!

Posted on 24. Mar, 2015 by in Culture, Vocabulary

Aster-oid under a CC license on Flickr

Aster-oid under a CC license on Flickr

On the 25th of March we celebrate the Independence Day, i.e. the revolution of the Greeks against the Turks in 1921. This post is not about the historical facts, there are just some information about the way we celebrate, about kalamatianos, the famous Greek dance, and about the traditional foods we eat.

Freedom or Death (Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος)

This is the motto that best describes the principles of the Greeks who revolted against the Turks in 1921. (Ελληνική επανάσταση, Greek revolution). It consists of nine syllables (e-lef-the-ree-a-ee-tha-na-tos). The nine stripes of the Greek flag represent this phrase.

How we celebrate it

The Greek Independence Day – 25η Μαρτίου, as we call it-  is celebrated throughout the country, by parades, memorials to the heroes of the revolution and special events. The day before, there are no lessons in schools, and events, such as theatrical plays based on the life of the heroes, are organized.

Sometimes, there are performances of Greek dances organized by local organizations and clubs. The most famous Greek dance is καλαματιανός or συρτός which originates from the Peloponnese. According to some theories, it has its origins in ancient times. It is danced in all areas by men and women. The beat is 7/8 and it has twelve basic steps. The dancers  dance in circle and the one who leads improvises. If you have been to a Greek πανηγύρι (feast) you are very likely to have seen people dancing – or to have danced yourself- καλαματιανό. There are different dances in every area but kalamatianos is danced everywhere in Greece.

A video of a traditional kalamatiano song by Domna Samiou

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What we eat

We eat μπακαλιάρο (bakaliaro, salted cod) and σκορδαλιά (skordalia, garlic sauce), although it is the period of Lent and fish is eliminated. The reason is that at the same day we also celebrate the Annunciation (Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου) which is a happy event, therefore the people who fast are allowed to consume fish, oil and wine. The reason  we eat cod is because in the past people could not afford fresh fish so salted cod was a good alternative. It is a tradition that is followed even nowadays.

If you happen to be in Greece this day, just blend with the locals and go to the nearest plaza to watch the performance of traditional dances. If you don’t like dances and parades, you can still eat cod and if you are brave enough, you can taste σκορδαλιά.

Χρόνια πολλά!

Describe your mood in Greek

Posted on 16. Mar, 2015 by in Vocabulary


One of my posts was about Geek idiomatic expressions related to feelings and mood. This post is about “mainstream” expressions that we use in order to express our feelings.

We use the verb είμαι (to be) with a masculine or feminine adjective but sometimes we use a verb. In this case, the verb είμαι cannot be used. E.g.: ανησυχώ (I worry) and not είμαι ανησυχώ.

Είμαι αγχωμένος, αγχωμένη / αγχώνομαι= I am anxious / to be anxious

Αύριο θα γνωρίσει τους γονείς της φίλης του και είναι αγχωμένος.

Today he will meet his girlfriend’s parents and he is stressed.

Είμαι ευτυχισμένος, ευτυχισμένη= I am happy

Έχεις τα πάντα, υγεία, οικογένεια, χρήματα. Τι άλλο θέλεις για να είσαι ευτυχισμένη;

You have everything, health family, money. What else do you need to be happy?

Είμαι κουρασμένος, κουρασμένη / κουράζομαι = I am tired / to get tired

Δουλεύει πολύ και είναι πάντα κουρασμένος.

He is working a lot and he is always tired.

Είμαι θυμωμένος, θυμωμένη / θυμώνω= I am angry / to be angry

Είμαι θυμωμένη μαζί σου γιατί μου είπες ψέματα.

I am angry with you because you lied to me.

Είμαι λυπημένος, λυπημένη / λυπάμαι= I am sad / to be sad

Είναι λυπημένη γιατί έχασε το σκύλο της.

She is sad because she has lost her dog.

Είμαι πιεσμένος, πιεσμένη / πιέζομαι= to be under pressure

Τον τελευταίο καιρό έχω προβλήματα στη δουλειά και νιώθω πολύ πιεσμένη.

I have problems at work lately and I feel under a lot of pressure.

Είμαι στενοχωρημένος, στενοχωρημένη / στενοχωριέμαι= I am sad / to be sad

Τσακώθηκε με τους γονείς του και είναι στενοχωρημένος.

He argued with his parents and he is sad.

Είμαι φοβισμένος, φοβισμένη / φοβάμαι= I am scared / to be scared

Άκουσα μια γυναίκα να φωνάζει. Φοβάμαι πολύ!

I heard a woman screaming. I’m very scared!

Είμαι χαρούμενος, χαρούμενη / χαίρομαι= I am glad ./ to be glad

Είναι έγκυος και είναι πολύ χαρούμενη!

She’s pregnant and she is very happy!

Δε νιώθω καλά / δεν αισθάνομαι καλά= I don’t feel well

Συγγνώμη, δε νιώθω καλά. Να τα πούμε κάποια άλλη φορά.

Sorry, I don’t feel well. Let’s talk some other time.

Ανησυχώ= to worry

Τον παίρνω τηλέφωνο εδώ και τρεις μέρες και δεν απαντάει. Ανησυχώ!

I have been calling him for three days and he doesn’t answer. I am worried!

Βαριέμαι= I am bored

Έχει πάρα πολλή ζέστη σήμερα και βαριέμαι να κάνω ο,τιδήποτε.

It’s too hot today and I am bored to do anything.

Nazir Nasrallah under a CC license on Flickr

Nazir Nasrallah under a CC license on Flickr

Escaping to Greece

Posted on 05. Mar, 2015 by in Listening comprehension, Travelling, Videos

For some of us this winter has been overwhelming and although it is March, spring is not in the air yet. Therefore, it is a very good moment to have a touch of Greece by watching a video about Lemnos (Λήμνος), an island in the Northern Aegean. If you are intermediate students of Greek, you can practice listening comprehension: watch the video form minute 3:55 to minute 5:421 and say whether the following statements are true or faulse (σωστό ή λάθος). The right answers and the transcript are here: limnos

The video is from the travel series “Ταξιδεύοντας με τη Μάγια Τσόκλη”. (Traveling with Maya Tsocli).

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Σωστό ή λάθος;  (True or false)

1. Ο Χρήστος Καζόλης έμενε κάποτε στην Αθήνα.

2. Είναι παντρεμένος.

3. Φωτογραφίζει το νησί από δώδεκα χρονών.

4. Φωτογραφίζει το νησί μόνο το καλοκαίρι.

5. Το τελευταίο πράγμα που έχει φτιάξει είναι ένα βιβλίο με χάρτες.

6. Στο νησί μπορεί κανείς να δει πουλιά φλαμίνγκο.

7. Στο νησί υπάρχει ηφαίστειο.

8. Οι κάτοικοι της Λήμνου μιλάνε μόνο με φωνήεντα.