Saturday, September 19, 2015


This is Georgo ( Yergo) the brother to Paul's grandma. He lived to be 100. We last saw him 3 years ago and his generosity is most remembered by the children who were 8 and 4 at the time. He has a kafenion( traditional cafe) that also sells cookies, candy and chips. When the kids would come to visit he would tell them to choose whatever they wanted to. Can you imagine how big that is to a child? They usually chose a bag of chips. They still remember him and probably always will. He died last year.

Today was the 9 month memorial. It struck me how supported the family is during the year after a death. Most families don black for at least 40 days and sometimes the whole year. This is an outward showing of respect but it also seems to alert others that someone close to them died. Has anyone died in your life? Remember driving around in a car or walking into store and wanting to tell someone,"Hey, my dad just died, or my dog had to be put to sleep or my grandma died today?" The black serves as that purpose as well.
Picture of Georgo with son Thanassi in
the background at Georgo's kafenion. 
Another thing Cretans do that we don't do in America are mulitple memorial services throughout the year. Read below for info on memorials.

A number of memorial services (mnimosino) will be held after the death.  The 40 days service  ‘ta 
saranta” is held on the Sunday nearest to 40 days after the death. The 40 day service is usually 
well attended, often more so than the funeral as many of those who were unable to attend the 
funeral due to the short notice, will attend the 40 day service to pay their respects.

There is also a 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and one year memorial service. Thereafter yearly.

At the church memorial service the family place a photograph of the deceased at the front of the 
church and each mourner lights a candle as they enter the church. After the service the family 
line up and people file past to offer their condolences. from

While we visited Georgo's grave we also found
Dimitri's grave.,Paul's uncle who died at 66 of
cancer. He is buried with his mom, Paul's yiayia.  Each grave site had
an opening in which the family can light candles and incense.
Rodopou's graves (made of marble) are above ground. They are beautifully and lovingly
maintained by each family with fresh and silk flowers.There are many generations of families here. 

after the memorial, cousins playing ball in the kafenion. Play is the universal language- apparently we are also
learning that Minecraft is also a universal language. 

Traditional bread handed out. These used to be stamped
by the church,
now it appears they a
are made by stores or bakeries.
I was struck by how supported Stella( the wife), Thanassi and Tonia were. This is a wonderful way of remembering a friend or loved one but more importantly it supports the family during this first year after the death. I looked around the kafenion and saw her friends and family who took time out to come and remember George. Stella dressed in all black as she will for the rest of her life. Thanassi, her grown son is also wearing black still but I don't know for how long he will do that.

Stella broke her arm in church last night! The kids signed her cast. Can you imagine the night before a memorial, when she  has so much do,  she breaks her arm! 

Below, Mano is eating Koliva- Stella told us about the Koliva. The ingredients are boiled wheat, pomegranates, chick pea powder, almonds, powdered sugar, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, a small amount of parsley, raisins. She told us that it is  nourishing and sweet at a time that is sad. On a different note Paul said there is a saying, " If somebody runs toward a line for something, people will often say, "What the heck are they giving out -koliva?" Here's some info about the name of Koliva . It’s interesting to note that the Orthodox Church often uses the phrase ‘fallen asleep’ in place of died as a reminder of the resurrection and promise of eternal life.  We see this reflected also in our English word cemetery comes from the Greek κοιμητήριον or sleeping place and the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos in August which is, in Greek, Κοίμησις Θεοτόκου (Kimisis) or falling asleep.(
Manoli eating Koliva

 After the Memorial-
This is where Paul attended school when he came to Greece! Unfortunately the school has closed due to lack of children. Had it been open, we would have enrolled the kiddos in this sweet, village school. The children below are 1. a friend of 2. Coola, Thanassi and Haroula's 2nd born 3. Georgo, their 3rd. These are cousins.

Coola helping Mano on the monkey bars. Theo watching. Paul used to play here too!
The beautiful children of Rodopou

The Bakery- We strolled up to the bakery
There is a very old bakery in Crete. Paul is with the daughter and her father.
The bakery may be open for another year, after that it will close. There is
no one to take over. Slowly the old ways are dying off. 

cookies to drink with coffee
This is where generations have kneaded dough
fourno or oven where bread is baked

Pick out your homemade village bread or cookies from here.

Click  READ MORE  below to see pix of the village and the Roman mile stone

Rodopou is a wonderful place to visit for the whole family. It is charming, historical and beautiful. 


Ancient Artifacts- This is in the town square across from the kafe

A mile stone from the Roman times!

This is hard to read, sorry. I will retake when we go back again. If you are a history buff- you will love it. 

Back home- For Disa- workers pouring concrete on the backyard. Goodbye weeds! Next thing I will try to talk your brother into is a jacuzzi :)

Kuddos to our kiddos. Traveling can be a challenge for children, especially when they are on the parents' schedule,off their own schedule,  they don't have other children to play with and old men and women with scruffy faces are constantly kissing their cheeks and asking them questions they don't understand. These two also have to sit for long periods of time, listening to older people talk and catch up and they don't complain..well, not too much. 

1 comment:

  1. How sad about that bakery. I love that kneading table. When was that bakery started? Your posts are so informative, Michelle. I really enjoy them. Love seeing the pics of the boys. Oh, how this grandma misses them! Love to all.