Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Good to Be Sunburnt and Greek

One of the really wonderful things about homeschooling and travel is that you get all that great socialization, especially if you are willing to participate in local cultural events.

We went to the Greek Festival in Sarasota, Florida over the weekend. More precisely it was called the Greek Glendi - A Greek Festival hosted by St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. According to the program brochure we received, they were celebrating the music of Greece, which fits perfectly with our recent music studies.

There was a lot of music and dancing, with explanations of many of the dances.The St. Barbara Hellenic Dancers were in colorful costumes that showed authentic Greek history and culture. Every Greek costume is an interesting combination of garment and accessories that is characteristic of a group of people who live in a particular region of Greece. According to the narrator at the festival, there are songs for washing sowing, harvesting - there are love songs, lullabies and laments.

The Greek Orthodox Church evolved in the era of the Great Byzantine Empire, for those of you not up on the middle ages. Byzantine chanting is where a lot of the songs we heard came from. These songs were full of melody and harmony. The folk music of Greece claims a history that is long and checkered and worthy of every homeschoolers attention. Popular music commonly known as Bouzouki music possesses unique characteristics that existed in parts of Greece, yesterday and today. The emotions of the Greek people show through in the dances and and in the music we saw and heard.

Greek architecture is a study in itself. Some say the Greeks invented architecture. Anybody who saw the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" understands that sort of enthusiasm for anything Greek. But most Greek Orthodox Churches I have seen so far in our travels are pretty interesting structures and this building in Sarasota is no different. A beautiful dome amidst Palms and Banyon trees adorned with Spanish Moss. If you're interested, you can go inside these churches and see many beautiful icons, lots of candles and gold ornamentation.

Though the music and the architecture are part of the "study" of local culture, at a Greek festival, in our book, the food is always the attraction. Greek pastries and food are the best "fast food" you can get in my opinion. There's nothing better than a Gyro and Baklava and a stroll through the other food and crafts booths. Church festivals always seem to guarantee that homemade touch and the little old Greek Florida ladies were out in force at this one for sure....though none of them had key lime pies on hand...

At the Greek Market

Greek Jewelry

Greek Shaws