Saturday, April 26, 2008

SREKEN VELIGDEN - HAPPY EASTER FROM MACEDONIA



Yes, tomorrow is Easter here. We celebrate Orthodox Easter because Macedonians are traditionally Orthodox. This is one of the most important holidays celebrated here, but for many Macedonians it is more of a traditional holiday, than a religious one.

Sreken Veligden means: Happy Easter in Macedonian language, but more often, these greetings are used instead of saying "Happy Easter". When meeting, the first person (instead of hello), says: "Hristos Voskrese",(Jesus Is Risen), and then the other person greets back saying: "Navistina Voskrese". (He Is Risen Indeed!!).

A Ceramic Orthodox Church (typical style for Greek Island churches, especially). I got this one in Thassos, Greece, several years ago.



On Thursday, everyone was busy dying their eggs. They are colored red, symbolizing the coming happiness in the resurrection. In some homes, beautiful designs are scraped on the service of a dyed egg with a sharp instrument. This unusual technique is the traditional Slavic Orthodox Christian style of decorating eggs.

Easter Eggs I Purchased in Athens (these are ceramic)





It is a custom that the first egg to be dyed is put aside and called the "Protector of the House" (Chuvarsko Jajce). It is placed beside the family Icon and saved until next Easter, where the mother of the house buries it in the garden while nobody sees her.

Some baking is done on Thursday, so that nothing but only essential duties are performed on GOOD FRIDAY. On Good Friday, the family observes a strict vegetarian fast and attends church, where they kiss the grave of Christ. (Plashtenica). Even fish and oils are omitted from the menu on Good Friday and only nuts, fruits and vegetables are eaten.

On Saturday, the house and the food for the coming day are prepared. There are traditional dishes for the Easter meal. A typical menu includes lamb, lamb soup, sarma (stuffed cabbage), salad and delicious cakes. Members of the family, and each guest who comes to the house, are offered eggs on Easter morning, with the greeting "Christ is risen" (Hristos Voskrese) and the response is always "Indeed he is risen" (Navistina Voskrese). Eggs are tapped, end to end, and if your egg is broken by another person's, you must give it to him/her.

Here are the eggs that I dyed for Easter. I didn't chisel my design, but painted them instead.




I added the rabbits to my decorating theme. This one comes from Athens (as well as the wooden egg beside the rabbit).



But I created this one myself (without a pattern). I know, looks like I did. HA!



Happy Orthodox Easter, Shelia
SREKEN VELIGDEN !!!!
Navistina Voskrese

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Pictures of Our Precious Little Boy --- Nathan Mussie

Here are recent pictures of Nathan. He is growing SO fast. Hard to believe that he will be a year old on June 3. He is pulling up and trying SOO Hard to walk. It won't be long and Amy won't be able to keep up with him. He can go pretty fast now -- and he is crawling. HA!




Crawling Everywhere


In His New "Spurs" Shirt



With Mommy


He Loves the Water -- But It's Too Cold Yet

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Elijah !!!

We cannot believe our grandson, Elijah, turns 9 years old today (April 21). Wish we could be with him to celebrate, but we wanted him to know that we love him very much and are so proud of him. He is a great kid !!!

Here are a few pictures of his birthday celebration. Nate, Violi and little Elliot (their dear friends from San Antonio) were visiting Amy & Christopher yesterday, so they all celebrated Elijah's birthday together. Can't think of anyone we would rather have "take our place" at that celebration!


Here is Elijah's "Africa" cake that he requested. Amy did a great job, don't you think?


Safari decorations, too !!

And the gifts ----




And then a fun time at the park ----


Happy Birthday, Elijah
Love, Baba and Peepaw

Here are pictures of Nathan and Elliot (3 days apart in age) playing in the playroom together.




At Church


And at the park ---




Violi, Elliot and Nate


Sophie and Anna



It is amazing to be able to share pictures, video clips, talk to the children over the computer phone --- we have come a long way, baby !!! Certainly does make being apart a little easier when you can keep in touch like this.

It's All GREEK to me!!!

I have a correction to make. When I posted our shopping trip in Athens and ended the post with what I thought was "EXIT" -- I found out later that what I posted was "Enter". Just wanted you to know that Janice knows her Greek -- I just don't know Enter from Exit !!! HA! I wondered when I posted it - why the exit sign on the door was on the outside??? But some things are different in the Balkans, so I thought maybe they didn't want people trying to go in the EXIT door??? Anyway, the door sign was pretty -- even though my Greek is pretty bad. HA!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

FOR THOSE WHO LIKE SHOPPING - OUR LAST DAY IN ATHENS (PLAKA MARKET)

Those of you who know me well (or maybe even a little) know that I love to go shopping !!! Well, Janice & Bob were SOOO gracious to take me (along with Arville, Mike & Ana) to Plaka Market and then to the Antiques part of the market on Saturday morning. Mike and Ana treated us to lunch at Appleby's when we finished (just in time because it started raining when we went to lunch). Talk about perfect timing !!!

I looked up as we were walking down the street toward the Acropolis and the market area to see this site. Does shopping get any better than this??? Yes, that is the Parthenon behind the trees.



As we walked along the streets, we window shopped. I saw so many beautiful doors (just like our trip to France in the summer of 2005). I wanted to stop and take pictures of all of them -- but on to the shopping !!! So here are 3 (out of many) that I share with you.







Some things in the windows -- yes, they are Easter decorations. Orthodox Easter comes late this year - April 27.


I love these wooden people. I am trying to figure out how to make my own. They remind me of the African (Togo and Ivory Coast) figures that Amy is keeping for me in Jasper. Amy, I think we can make our own -- wouldn't that be fun??? Right, just another project to be done someday. HA!





We passed this restaurant, a sign advertising the menu, a man singing to some customers, and the chairs awaiting even more customers for lunch.








Souvenir Shops and Plaka Agora (Market)









Oh my, what do we have here??? People that don't want their pictures to show up on my BlogPage - definitely should not pose for a photo opt while standing near women they don't know. You might know that I couldn't resist this opportunity !





See how I slipped these photos right in with the shopping for souvenirs and Greek-made products???






The outside of this Taverna was so pretty - just had to have a picture.



Ana and I both wanted to put one of these pots in our garden. We loved the way it is turned on its side.



Now we come to the meat and vegetable market. That is olive oil for sale in the 4th picture.









Janice and I said that this was a great picture. You have the older bike in front and the newer in the back -- both in the same color of blue.



We are now headed toward the older part of the market area (where the antiques are located).
Game of chance - anyone???



There was lots of graffti written on walls - some of it very decorative. The best was this Coke machine at one of the sidewalk fast food restaurants. A work of art!!



Going toward the excavation area in the middle of the market.







Finally, we arrive at the part I have been waiting for --- the antiques (and some junk -- which is my absolute favorite). Mike and Ana look happy now -- but just wait until they are in this market for over an hour !! HA! Just kidding.




Janice knows her way around here. Wonder why???


We even came across an Orthodox priest shopping?? in the antiques market.

Some of the interesting things we saw -- no, I didn't buy it all. I only bought a small wine flask that had been used at a celebration (probably a wedding). Janice got one, too.




Notice the violin -- next to an iron ??? Typical.


I would loved to have been able to carry this back in my 15 kilo piece of luggage. HA! Isn't it beautiful?


Anyone need a barber chair?



Okay, they don't look terribly unhappy.


If you bought more than you can carry - someone is always ready to come to your aide.



Guess it has been a LONG day?? But wait, it is only 1 p.m. ???

This sign says "EXIT" (at least that is what Janice told me) - so that is what we will do. Hope you enjoyed the shopping trip as much as I did.