A touch of Greek Easter

Posted on 15. Apr, 2014 by in Culture, Customs, Videos, Vocabulary

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The  countdown to Easter (Πάσχα, Pasha) , the most important Greek holiday, has already started.  The Easter traditions have been preserved  and are still followed by most Greeks, religious or not.  Some people, relate Easter to a big open air celebration with music, dance, and of course a meal that is composed of lamb and wine.  It is an opportunity to meet friends and relatives, to be joyful and careless and to enjoy the spring. Some others, relate it to the church service during the Holly Week and the devout Byzantine hymns of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It is a period of love and forgiveness and the right moment to connect spiritually and emotionally with the others.

 

  • Some Easter Customs

Every Greek region has its own way and customs of celebrating Easter but some traditions are common.
Μεγάλη Πέμπτη (megali Pempti Holy Thursday) is a day full of colors and smells. People prepare  κουλούρια (koulouriα, Greek cookies) and τσουρέκι (tsoureki, Easter bread) and they dye and decorate  eggs, in a festive ambiance.  The tradition of decorated eggs is common in the Balkan countries.

If you want to go Greek this Easter, watch these recipes and make your own tsoureki and koulouria!

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Μεγάλη Παρασκευή (Megali Paraskevi, Good Friday) is a day of mourning. The Bier of Christ (Επιτάφιος, Epitafios)  which has been decorated with flowers, is transported in the streets and is followed by the believers.
Μεγάλο Σάββατο (Megalo Savato, Holy Saturday) people celebrate the Resurrection.  They go to church and at midnight they get  the Holy Light (Άγιο Φως, agio fos) by the priest, and they exchange greetings. They have decorated candles (λαμπάδα, lambada) and carry the light home.  It is the end of the forty days Lent.
Κυριακή του Πάσχα (Kiriaki tou Pasha, Easter Sunday) is a day of joy and happiness. Traditionally, people spend Easter with their family, they eat lamb, crack boiled red eggs,  and take a break from their everyday life.

 

  • Easter greetings and expressions

Καλό Πάσχα (Kalo Pasha, have a nice Easter)
Καλή Ανάσταση (Kali Anastasi, Anastasi= Resurrection)
Χρόνια Πολλά (Hronia polla)
Χριστός Aνέστη, Αληθώς (Hristos Anesti, Alithos Anesti): When the priest announces the resurrection of Christ, people spread the word by saying  “Χριστός Ανέστη” (Hristos Anesti) which means “Christ has risen”. The other person must respond by “Αληθώς” (Alithos) which could be translated as “indeed”.

 

Say the colors in Greek

Posted on 06. Apr, 2014 by in Music, Vocabulary

by Rania

by Rania

Ήρθε η άνοιξη! (Irthe i anixi, spring is in the air) Spring is the season of colors and the Greek vocabulary is rich in adjectives and idioms related to colors (χρώματα, hromata).

The colors grammatically are adjectives, so they  have genders, singular and plural and cases, i.e. they are not invariable.

1. Form of colors

  • Some colors are invariable because they are non-Greek words:

Μπλε (ble, blue), ροζ (roz, pink), μωβ (mauve), μπεζ (beige), εκρού (ekrou, ecru), γκρι (gri, gery), τιρκουάζ  (turquoise), χακί (haki, khaki), καφέ (kafe, brown)

E.x. Η Σοφία φοράει μία μπλε φούστα (I Sophia foraei mi able fousta): Sophia is wearing a blue skirt.

 

  • In some standard expressions we use the colors in their older form:

Ερυθρός Σταυρός (eritrhos stavros): Red Cross

Κυανούς Σταυρός (kianous stavros): Blue Cross

Λευκός οίκος (lefkos oikos): White House

  • The other adjectives  end in:

 ος (masc.) –η (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Κόκκινος, κόκκινη, κόκκινο (kokkinos, kokkini, kokkino): red

Μαύρος, μαύρη, μαύρο (mavros, mavri, mavro): black

Άσπρος, άσπρη, άσπρο (aspros, aspri, aspro): white

Πράσινος, πράσινη, πράσινο (prasinos, prasini, prasino): green

Κίτρινος, κίτρινη, κίτρινο (kitrinos, kitrini, kitrino): yellow

-ος (masc.) –α (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Γκρίζος, γκρίζα, γκρίζο (grizos, griza, grizo): grey

-ος (masc.) –ια (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Γαλάζιος, γαλάζια, γαλάζιο (galazios, galazia, galazio): light blue

-ής (masc.) –ιά (fem.) –ί (neuter)

Note that some cases are not commonly used.

Βυσσινής, βυσσινιά, βυσσινί (vissinis, vissinia, vissini): the color of the sour cherry

Σταχτής, σταχτιά, σταχτί (stahtis, stahtia, stahti): the color of the ash

Πορτοκαλής, πορτοκαλιά, πορτοκαλί (portokalis, portokalia, portokalia): orange

Καφετής, καφετιά, καφετί (kafetis, kagetia, kafeti): brown

Θαλασσής, θαλασσιά, θαλασσί (thalassis, thalassia, thalassi): ocean/sea  blue

 

2. Use of colors

Colors have the same gender, case and number as the noun they define. Usually, they are placed before it:

Έχω μία μαύρη γάτα. (Eho mia mavri gata):  I have a black cat.

Sometimes, they can be put after the moun:

Έχεις γάτα άσπρη ή μαύρη; (Eheis gata aspri i mavri): Do you have a black cat or a white cat?

If they define a specific noun they are always placed before it:

Βλέπεις τη μαύρη γάτα; (Vlepeis ti mavri gata): Do you see the black cat?

3. And some “colorful” expressions:

Κοκκινίζω από το θυμό μου (kokkinizo apo to thimo mou) : (literally) I turn red from (because of) anger

Κοκκινίζω από ντροπή (kokkinizo apo dropi) I turn red from shyness / embarassement

Μαυρίζωαπό το κακό μου (mavrizo apo to kako mou) I turn black from rage

Πρασινίζω από τη ζήλεια μου (prasinizo apo ti zilia mou) I turn green from jealousy

Ασπρίζω από το φόβο μου (asprizo apo to fovo mou) I turn white from fear

Κιτρινίζω από το φόβο μου (kitrinizo apo to bovo mou) I turn yellow from fear

And a song: Rosa Rosalia (the pink color) by Lena Platonos

Ρόζα Ροζαλία (το ροζ χρώμα) [Roza Rozalia to roz hroma]

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Greece in fifteen questions

Posted on 25. Mar, 2014 by in Culture, Quizzes

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In Greece on March 25 we celebrate the Independence Day and also the Annunciation to Virgin Mary of her conception. Instead of writing a post about a topic that can be searched on Wikipedia or on documentaries, I decided to make a quiz about Greece. Making a quiz about Greece is not easy and I always find it hard to think what comes to the mind of non-Greeks when they hear the word “Greece”. Is it sun, bouzouki and tzatziki? Maybe mythical creatures, and incest stories? Democracy and philosophy or just poverty and decadence?

Greece cannot be included in fifteen questions.  However, if you want to test your knowledge about Greece and whatever goes with it, and maybe to learn something you didn’t know, feel free to do the following quiz.  It is dedicated to all my students and foreign friends who make me see a new aspect of my country every day.

 

1.       Who is the god of wine?

a.       Apollo (Απόλλωνας)

b.      Zeus (Δίας)

c.       Dionysus (Διόνυσος)

d.      Pan (Παν)

2.       You cannot make tzatziki (τζατζίκι) without:

a.       Tomatoes

b.      bread

c.       Dill

d.      Garlic

3.       Pythia (Πυθία) is:

a.       The priestess of Apollo

b.      The Muse of  poetry

c.       The daughter of Venus

d.      A monster

4.       The first Constitution was voted in:

a.       1821

b.      1822

c.       1799

d.      1900

5.       The expression “between Scylla and Charybdis” (ανάμεσα στη Σκύλλα και τη Χάρυβδη / anamesa sti Skila kai ti Harivdi) means :

a.       To be possessed by daemons

b.      To have to face a difficult situation

c.       To have to choose between two beautiful women

d.      To not be able to navigate

6.       If you go to Plaka, in Athens, you won’t see:

a.       A solar clock

b.      A church

c.       A children’s museum

d.      An Opera

7.       The Greek doctor George Papanikolaou  (ΓεώργιοςΠαπανικολάου) discovered:

a.       The vaccine against polio

b.      The Pap test

c.       The elixir of youth

d.      The penicillin

8.       Which population never invaded Greece:

a.       Franks

b.      Venetians

c.       Persians

d.      Aborigines

9.       Kalamatianos (Καλαματιανός) dance consists of:

a.       7 steps

b.      12 steps

c.       16 steps

d.      No steps. Just get drunk and do whatever you like

10.   The Greek national poet is:

a.       Konstantinos Kavafis (ΚωνσταντίνοςΚαβάφης)

b.      Homer (Όμηρος)

c.       George Seferis (Γεώργιος Σεφέρης)

d.       Dionysios Solomos(Διονύσιος Σολωμός)

11.   Traditional mastic products are produced in:

a.       Chios  (Χίος)

b.      Limnos (Λήμνος)

c.       Amorgos (Αμοργός)

d.      Lesvos (Λέσβος)

12.   Which one of the following words is not of Greek origin:

a.       Nostalgia

b.      Melody

c.       Orgasm

d.      Algebra

13.   Which one of the following drinks cannot be found in a Greek tavern:

a.       Pisco (Πίσκο)

b.      Tsikoudia (Τσικουδιά)

c.       Ρακόμελο (Rakomelo)

d.      Ρετσίνα (Retsina)

14.   If you were a Greek god/goddess you would eat and drink:

a.       Ouzo and fish

b.      Honey and grapes

c.       Nectar and ambrosia

d.      Olives and water

15.   The Greek word for “freedom” is:

a.       Αγάπη (agape)

b.      Φιλία (filia)

c.       Ισότητα (isotita)

d.      Ελευθερία (eleftheria)

Answer Key:

1. a            6.d              11.a

2.d            7.b              12.d

3.a             8.d             13.a

4.b            9.b             14.c

5.b            10.d          15.d

If you are overwhelmed by a long winter, watch this video by Stian Rekdal.

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