Memory @ Stella Matutina
Linda @ Hutt-Write Voice
Pogue @ Katzenjammer
Victoria Hislop is an author I really enjoyed discovering this year! This quote comes from pages 110 and 111 of The Island.
When Advent began, Giorgis and Eleni needed to decide how to deal with Christmas. It was to be their first one apart for fifteen years. The festival did not have the importance of Easter, but it was a time for ritual and feasting with the family and Eleni's absence would be a gaping void.
For a few days before and after Christmas Giorgis did not cross the choppy waters to visit Eleni. Not just because the vicious wind would bite into his hands and face until they were raw, but because his daughters needed him to stay. Similarly, Eleni's attentions had to be on Dimitri and they played out in parallel the age-old traditions. As they always had, the girls sang tuneful kalada from house to house and were rewarded with sweets and dried fruit, and after early morning mass on Christmas Day they feasted with the Angelopoulos family on pork and delicious kourambiethes, sweet nutty biscuits baked by Savina. things were no so very different on Spinalonga. The children sang in the square, helped bake the ornate seasonal loaves known as christopsomo, Christ's bread, and ate as never before. For Dimitri it was the first time he had enjoyed such plentiful quantities of rich food and witnessed such hedonism.
Throughout the twelve days of Christmas, Giorgis and Elenis sprinkled a little holy water in each room of their respective houses to deter the kallikantzari, seasonal goblins that were said to play havoc in the home, and on 1 January, St Basil's Day, Giorgis visited Eleni once again, bringing her presents from the children and from Savina. The ending of the old year and the beginning of the new was a watershed, a mile-stone that had been safely passed, taking the Petrakis family into a different era.