Friday, 2 May 2008

Burnt fields

Yesterday was 1st May, Labour Day in Greece, one of the many monthly public holidays this country enjoys. (Rarely does a month go by without at least one: I've listed them for your convenience at the bottom of the photo story.)

We drove to the historic village of Therisso, 15 minutes away form our house. Despite the village's historical importance, high-season tourism and verdant fields, no one bothers to clear the roads of rubble and rubbish (but that's another story). We ate a fantastic lunch at one of the numerous tavernas in the area, then drove out to a high point in the village to enjoy the panoramic view.

It was a little depressing. The area in the photo suffered a fire (arson? accident? who knows). Only one part of the area miraculously remained unscathed, as can be seen from the green patch sliding down the plain towards a stream.

As an English teacher, I've worked out that Greek school children attend just 7 months worth of school a year (including the weekends, when there is no school), due to the many public holidays, teachers' training days, special school holidays, school outings and the ubiquitous state teachers' strikes that have practically become a way of life in Greece. Here's just how many public holidays Greeks enjoy:
January: New Year's Day (1), Feast of the 3 Hierarchs (30 - educational/government institutes closed)
February: Clean Monday (50 days before Easter Sunday)
March: Independence from the Turkish occupation (25)
April: Easter (schools are closed 1 week before AND 1 week after Easter Sunday)
May: Labour Day (1) Bright Friday (the first Friday after Easter Sunday - some government institutes are closed)
June: Pentecost (50 days after Easter Sunday - educational/government institutes closed)
July: it's high summer, every day's a holiday
August: the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (15)
September: it just so happens that the parish church is dedicated to the Holy Cross (14), so my children's schools are closed
October: No to fascism (28)
November: University Junta Remembrance Day (17 - educational/government institutes closed)
December: Christmas (25 - schools close down before Christmas Eve and re-open after St John's Day - 8/1)


  1. So sad about the fires - especially when they turn out to be deliberate - the Canary Islands (Tenerife & La Gomera in particular) have suffered badly this year - and of course around Athens (Australia too - the list goes on).

    I remember that twisty road from Laki to Therriso. We stopped for a meal at Therriso and our lunch was attacked by bees or wasps - very disconcerting.

  2. No to Fascism. I can't imagine having holidays with names like these where I live but then maybe we need to have one that says

    No More Bushes.