Saturday, 26 October 2013

St Dimitrios (Άγιος Δημήτριος)

The feastday of St Dimitrios, an early saint born in an aristocratic family in Thessaloniki, is a landmark calendar date in Greece.
St Dimitrios' relics are kept in the church of St Dimitrios in Thessaloniki, his birthplace. It's one of the most majestic churches I've ever visited in Greece, complete with catacombs.

It carries great significance for everyone in Greece, for different reasons. St Dimitrios' feastday signals many things in Greek culture:
- the first public holiday since August (NO day on October 28, which gives us a 3-day weekend this year)
- the start of the cold weather (and the need for heating)
- the end of daylight savings time (it will get dark really early from now on)
- the end of the tourist season (the charter flights stop coming to Greece around this time)
- the laying of the rugs in the house, in preparation for the colder weather (a Greek ritual)
- a feast day to celebrate a loved one called Dimitris or Dimitra (a very popular name in Greece)
- the start of the season of the season of γιορτές (yiorTES - feasts), as many namedays are celebrated according to the Greek Orthodox calendar from now until the end of the year (namedays are more popular than birthdays in Greece)
- the run-up to Christmas, as seen in the picture below:
Spotted yesterday in the town: this store has brought out its Christmas/winter decorations

The festive season is upon us.

Χρόνια Πολλά to all those celebrating!

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