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The Greek Panigiri; Celebrate Greek-Style!




"The Celebration" Illustration by Bill Papas Papasart.com
"The Celebration"
Illustration by Bill Papas
Papasart.com

During the summer months, all over Greece, from the tiniest of churches in the tiniest of villages, to the largest of cathedrals in the towns, Greeks keep a centuries old tradition alive; a tradition of celebrating the Name  Day of the town's main Saint; the "Panigiri".

 This jolly affair, with street markets, food vendors, and, in the evening, a gathering, usually in the village square, or any spare bit of land large enough, tables and chairs are set up, ready for a real "Glendi", which, in English, more or less means having a right knees up!

 The aroma of roast sucking pig, (Whole pigs have been slowly roasting all day) wafts through the air, plastic buckets, filled with ice, hold cans of beer galore, but, the main attraction of the evening, the band!


Roast pork
Roast pork
The "Paniri pig" !

As night falls,  tables fill, the band tunes up,  roast pork is served in paper, eaten with fingers, the beer drunk from cans or paper cups.

 As more and more beer and wine is consumed, the merrier and merrier thing become;

 People are handing song requests to the band, which consists of a singer or two, bouzouki, bongo- like drums and the 'Piece de resistance' the clarinet, money is plastered onto the singer's forehead, the higher the denomination of the note, the sooner you will hear your song!

 Everyone is up and dancing to the deafening sound of the clarinet, the only other thing to be heard is the occasional  'opa' from the wild dancers.

It is a sight to be seen...and heard!


Panigiri at Arethoussa, Ikaria island Photo; aegeanpan.com
Panigiri at Arethoussa, Ikaria island
Photo; aegeanpan.com

These celebrations continue all through the night into the early hours of the morning; you are not very happy if you happen to live near the area where all this is going on!

There is many a sore head the next morning!

These shenanigans are the highlight of the festival, the "leading up to it", so to speak,  has been  going on all day!

 There are rows of market stalls, selling anything imaginable, from wellington boots to decorative candles, from pots and pans to underwear (usually in enormous sizes!).

And then there's the mouthwatering street food; souvlaki and giros of course, and mountains of delicious "Loukoumades"; fried doughnut balls, drenched in pure Greek honey and dredged with ground cinnamon.


Street market, "Panigiri day", Loutraki
Street market, "Panigiri day", Loutraki

Long live Britain...bought in Greece! Panigiri Loutraki
Long live Britain...bought in Greece!
Panigiri Loutraki

Nightwear, and underwear, sizes for everyone! Loutraki Panigiri 
Nightwear, and underwear, sizes for everyone!
Loutraki Panigiri

Every year there are the Russians with their 'Brocante', don't think the word antiques really fits the bill, vintage maybe.

These are my favourite stalls, I could browse for hours.


Any old iron? Panagiri Loutraki
Any old iron?
Panagiri Loutraki

Brocante Panigiri Loutraki
Brocante
Panigiri Loutraki


The two crystal and silver decanters at the back looked very interesting!


Tiffany style glass and interesting porcelain  at the Panigiri, Loutraki
Tiffany style glass and interesting porcelain
 at the Panigiri, Loutraki


Bits and bobs, Tiffany style glass and interesting porcelain  at the Panigiri, Loutraki
Bits and bobs

Russian wares.Panigiri Loutraki
Russian wares.
Panigiri Loutraki

The nuns from the local Monastery with their honey and healing herbs
The nuns from the local Monastery with their honey and healing herbs
Panigiri Loutraki

Handmade leather sandals.Panigiri Loutraki
Handmade leather sandals.
Panigiri Loutraki

There is always food, souvlaki, corn on the cob, loukoumades and cold drinks galore.


Souvlaki Panigiri Loutraki
Souvlaki
Panigiri Loutraki

Loukoumades  fried doughnut balls, drenched in pure Greek honey and dredged with ground cinnamon. Panigiri Loutraki
Loukoumades;
  fried doughnut balls, drenched in pure Greek honey and dredged with ground cinnamon.
Panigiri Loutraki

This year I took our Granddaughter Melina, she loved it, the word "panigiri" (the name of feasts and festivals in general) must sound to her like the word for Paris, "Parisi ", as she told everyone; Yiayia (Grandma) was taking her to Paris...I wish!

This reminds me of my friend's son George, telling me he was going on holiday to kung fu!

 "Are you really George?"....he was going to Corfu!

 Sweet Melina was as good as gold and didn't ask for everything in sight, like my two children used to do, hmm, does that mean I had spoilt them?

 Papou (Grandpa) bought her a balloon and two sweet battery-operated toys, a dog and a rabbit, she had a great time making them kiss!


Mel at the Panigir, Loutraki
Mel at the Panigir, Loutraki

Kiss kiss
Kiss kiss

Underwear
See, I told you that the underwear always seems to be size XL !

 I noticed this year that the vendors of fake designer hand bags were not around, they are usually out in force.

 Maybe they were there another day, maybe the police had been making their rounds!

This picture is from last year.

Fake bags Panigiri bags!
Fake !
Panigiri bags!


And no, I did not buy my bag here!

Greeker Than The Greeks
Thinking about the" Panigiri Pig"

We enjoyed our day at the Loutraki Panigiri, I have never missed one yet!

It seems to become smaller every year, is this because of the financial crisis here in Greece or is the tradition slowly dying out, I hope not the latter.

Eating candy floss at my first ever visit to a panigiri
Eating candy floss at my first ever visit to a panigiri

We bought our roast pork..."The panigiri pig" and will be eating it all week, last night I had a pork sandwich and today we had it cold with salad and homemade tzatziki, still some left, it's like the Christmas turkey!

Pork sandwich
Panigiri pig sandwich

  homemade tzatziki
 Again with my homemade tzatziki

       September 7th is the feast day of our local church, Panagia Giatrissa (Virgin Mary The Healer) Loutraki.

Panagia Giatrissa ( Virgin Mary The Healer)
Panagia Giatrissa ( Virgin Mary The Healer) all trimmed up for the Panigiri festival.


The icon of The Virgin Mary paraded through the town in the evening, lead by Father Nikos , carried by the Poseidon handball team of Loutraki.


The icon Passing through the town centre
Passing through the town center
Panigiri Loutraki

We will be there again next year.

Weather permitting!

The saying goes, here in Loutraki;

 It always, but always rains on the day of the Loutraki Panigiri

And it usually does!

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