Frozen April in Greece

Posted on 13. Apr, 2015 by in Music, Videos, Vocabulary

Clouds over Oia, Santorini.

Clouds over Oia, Santorini.

Δεν κάνει κρύο στην Ελλάδα. It’s not cold in Greece. These are the lyrics of a Greek song. Unfortunately, songs lie. The second week of April was windy, rainy and cold. It even snowed in the mountains of Attica, which is very unusual in this time of year. The weather got better in the weekend and hopefully these were the last days of winter. In this post there is vocabulary related to rain and wind.

1. Κάνει κρύο= it is cold

Αν και είναι Απρίλιος, κάνει πολύ κρύο.

(lit) Although it is April, it is too cold.


2. To σύννεφο= cloud

Δεν είδαμε το ηλιοβασίλεμα γιατί τα σύννεφα έκρυβαν τον ήλιο.

We didn’t see the sunset because the clouds hid the sun.


3. Έχει συννεφιά= it is cloudy

Έχει συννεφιά. Θα βρέξει.

It is cloudy. It will rain.


4. Βρέχει = it rains, it is raining

«Πώς είναι ο καιρός στο νησί;» «Κάνει κρύο και βρέχει κάθε μέρα.»

“How is the weather in the island?” “It is cold and it rains every day.


5. Βροχή (η) = rain

Δε μου αρέσει η βροχή. Μου αρέσει ο ήλιος.

I don’t like the rain. I like the sun.


6. Καταιγίδα (η) = storm

H καταιγίδα κράτησε μόνο δέκα λεπτά.

The storm lasted for ten minutes only.


7. Πλημμύρα (η) = flood

Η σοδειά τους καταστράφηκε από τις πλημμύρες.

Their crop was destroyed by the floods.


8. χαλάζι (το)  = hail

Το χαλάζι και ο αέρας κατέστρεψαν τα αμπέλια.

The hail and the wind destroyed the vineyards.


9. Ομίχλη (η) = fog

Να οδηγήσεις προσεκτικά. Έχει ομίχλη.

Drive carefully. It is foggy.


10. Φυσάει = it is windy

«Γιατί δεν έχει καράβι σήμερα;» «Γιατί φυσάει πάρα πολύ.»

“Why there are no boats today?” “Because it’s too windy.”


11. Aντιανεμικό μπουφάν= wind-jacket

Φυσάει πολύ. Πάρε το αντιανεμικό μου. Εγώ δε θα βγω απόψε.

It’s very windy. Take my wind jacket. I won’t go out tonight.


12. Έχει πολύ αέρα = (lit) there is a lot of wind

«Δεν θα πάτε για ιστιοπλοΐα σήμερα;» «Όχι, έχει πολύ αέρα.»

“Won’t you go sailing today?” “No, it’s too windy.”



1. Ξυρίζει= it means to shave. It can be used when it’s too cold and windy.

Πάμε μέσα. Έξω ξυρίζει.

Let’s go in. It’s freezing outside


2. Γίνομαι μούσκεμα= the rain is all over me.

Έγινες μούσκεμα! Δεν είχες ομπρέλα;

The rain is all over you! Didn’t you have an umbrella?

This is a link to the song “Δεν κάνει κρύο στην Ελλάδα” (It’s never cold in Greece) by Locomondo.

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Greek expressions and idioms: to break

Posted on 31. Mar, 2015 by in Vocabulary


One of the most common verbs is the verb χαλάω (to break, to break down, to spoil, etc.). Below there are some examples of its use and meanings.

1. To break / to break down

Μη χαλάσεις το τάμπλετ σου γιατί δεν έχουμε λεφτά να πάρουμε άλλο.

Don’t break your tablet  because we cannot afford another one.

Το αυτοκίνητό μου χάλασε πάλι!

My car broke down again!


2. To get worse (weather)

Ο καιρός χαλάει. Θα βρέξει.

The weather is getting worse. It will rain.


3. To damage

Μη διαβάζεις στο σκοτάδι, θα χαλάσεις τα μάτια σου.

Don’t read in the darkness, you will damage your eyes.


4. A business will not happen

Δυστυχώς, η δουλειά χάλασε.

Unfortunately, we won’t do business.


5. To spoil

Οι γιαγιάδες και οι παππούδες τα χαλάνε τα παιδιά.

Grandparents spoil the children.

6. To be in a bad mood

Με το που είδε τον πρώην της, της χάλασε η διάθεση.

As soon as she saw her ex she was in a bad mood. (lit: her mood was spoiled)


The participle χαλασμένος, χαλασμένη, χαλασμένο is commonly used as well

1. Μην τρως αυτό το τυρί! Δεν βλέπεις ότι είναι χαλασμένο;

Don’t eat the cheese! Don’t you see it’s moldy?

2. Το ασανσέρ δε λειτουργεί, είναι χαλασμένο.

The elevator is out of order. It’s broken.

3. Ο οδοντίατρος τού είπε ότι έχει ένα χαλασμένο δόντι.

The dentist told him that he has a bad tooth.


1. Τα χαλάω= to break up

Ο Νίκος και η Μαριάνα τα χάλασαν. Nikos and Mariana broke up.


2. Χαλάω τον κόσμο= to make a big deal

Ο γιος της δεν απαντούσε στο τηλέφωνο και χάλασε τον κόσμο. Μέχρι και στους γονείς της κοπέλας του τηλεφώνησε.

Her son didn’t answer the phone and she made a big deal out of it. She even called his girlfriend’s parents.


3. Δε χάλασε ο κόσμος / Δε θα χαλάσει ο κόσμος= it’s not the end of the world

Δεν πειράζει που δεν ήρθε ο Γιάννης. Δε χάλασε (κι) ο κόσμος!

It’s ok Yannis didn’t come. It’s not the end of the world!

Δε θα χαλάσει ο κόσμος αν έρθει αύριο!

It’s not the end of the world if he comes tomorrow!


4. Ο κόσμος να χαλάσει= no matter what

Θα έρθω να σε δω, ο κόσμος να χαλάσει!

I’ll come to see you no matter what!

5. O κόσμος χαλάει is an idiom used in many contexts:

Που πας μ’ αυτόν τον καιρό; Χαλάει ο κόσμος!

Where are you going? The weather is really bad!

Ο Κώστας έκανε πάρτι το Σάββατο. Χάλασε ο κόσμος!

Costas had a party on Saturday. It was fantastic!


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!