Celebrate the moment

Thanksgiving in New York

Thanksgiving in New York –like coming home for Christmas…

I’m laden with memories of my children when they were small, sharing love and warmth, preparing excitedly to go to the parade in Central Park West, see the million balloons at Macy’s, and absorb the spices and flavors filling the air. I long for these feelings of homeliness, tender closeness and being grateful for all the blessings we’ve received.

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I remember the days of getting together with people close and beloved that we might have seen each other only a while before or not for quite sometime and that making no difference… I remember friends, sharing moments difficult and beautiful, and owing them for being there for me in those young days of motherhood.

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This year, I was drawn again. The irresistible friends, my daughter Vivia and this home that always welcomes me and wraps me in its love and warmth. The pumpkin the turkey the hugs and the shops are all there and I am enchanted. Living my memories and living today. So thankful.

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After all, life is the family, the friends and the memories we make. And I am blessed with all three and giving thanks that I’ve been here yet again.

Home. For Thanksgiving.

 

Matrona’s festival, Santorini

The place, mesmerizing Santorini. The setting, delightful Village of Foinikia. The occasion, unique Matrona Festival. The people, new and old wonderful friends. The food, local mouth watering specialties, feasting on bakaliaros xelouristos (specially made bass) and fava beans. In magical October coloured by Santorini’s own, romantic and enchanting sunsets.

I was fortunate to be met with a great and delightful surprise while visiting the alluring Santorini when I coincided with the original Panigiri (Festival) dedicated to the Panagia Matrona celebrated in the island every October in the village of Foinikia.

It was everywhere. The streets, the squares, the cafes, the welcoming smiles and eyes of the locals opening homes and hearts in joy and pleasure to serve and include their guests in their preparation meals and the bustling atmosphere of their panigiri.

Authentic and joyous, an experience to be kept in the heart. Enjoy!!

 

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Fava beans, the other thing that Santorini is famous for! After 3600 years of cultivation in the volcanic soil of the island, fava beans from Santorini have recently been added to the EU’s list of Protected Designation of Origin products!

Taste and find out why Santorini fava beans are the best!

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My June Favorite Birthdays

The month of June is very close to my heart because it’s a birthday month for my loved ones, not only my son Stratos was born to bring joy in my life, but also another lovely human, that is now completing the first the year of his life, Leo, I call him “Kyrio Dinato”.

There is also another important birthday, our lovely friend Mrs Beys just turned 70 and her grandson Peter made a very memorable speech where he made sure everyone knew what magnificent woman his grandmother is, “smarter than JFK“ quoting him!

I am looking forward to celebrating my dear friend’s Elena Panos’ birthday, can’t wait for her to arrive in Athens.

 

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Greek Orthodox Christening Celebration

So you now have given birth to a lovely baby girl or boy.  What joy!

 

But now think about the first religious ritual in the Greek Orthodox tradition  — the Christening.  Christenings can be done at any age, but usually are done within the first year of birth as a rite of passage, as well as for practical reasons.

 

The traditions that surround a Greek Orthodox Christening ceremony vary between the regions of Greece, but all have common threads.

 

Choosing a Godparent:

The role of a godparent is to look after the spiritual development of the newborn.

In the Greek Orthodox tradition, you may have more than one Godparent but one must be a Greek Orthodox, and the others have to be Christians.  The godparents should be chosen from close friendships and admired as role models for the child.

In fact, the families of the Parents and the Godparents, were so close, that traditionally they would exchange becoming Godparents from one generation to the other with each others families.

 

Naming the Baby:

Traditionally the first born son of the male parent was expected to be named after his paternal grandfather.  This is discussed with the Godparent before the Christening, but ultimately the final decision is with the Godparent.  Many villages have come unhinged when this tradition is not observed.  So choose the Godparents carefully.

 

The Christening Ceremony:

The Greek Orthodox baptism is very distressing or even traumatic for a baby.   He or she is surrounded with unfamiliar faces and surroundings.  A word to the wise, the younger the baby, the better.

The religious ritual of course is of the utmost importance.  It is the first sacrament performed symbolizing that the child has now become a Greek Orthodox and is now part of God’s kingdom.  Among other religious symbolic acts performed within the religious ceremony, the child receives his first communion by his Godparent, and is presented by the Godparent with his first suit and coat, as well as a cross.  This symbolizes that he is now a Christian, and with God’s grace, he should always proceed in life with prosperity.

 

Festivities after the Religious Ceremony:

A celebration always follows the religious ceremony.   This gives an opportunity to the guest to offer their wishes to the “new Christian”.  And of course there is reciprocity of good wishes from guest to guest.  This of course is accompanied with hugs and kisses, a lot of laughter, good food and drinks, and more times than not, dancing and singing.

The guest shower the baby with loving gifts, and in return, the parents and/or godparents give all the guests a “bonbonniera” or better known today as a “favor”.

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