Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Greek Party Nights

So that concludes my Greece 2008 holiday journal and soon it will be time to make plans for next year as I am certain that I will be returning.

Actually I am expecting to return quite a few times over the next few years and especially in 2014 where I plan to celebrate my 60th birthday, father’s day and my retirement altogether in one major event. A Greek night!

A couple of weeks away in Greece are just not complete without going to a traditional Greek food and entertainment night and this must include participative Greek dancing. A real enthusiast will prepare for such an evening by purchasing a CD of Greek music to practice beforehand but this is not strictly necessary and all you really need to be able to do is to recognise the opening chords of ‘Zorba’.

What you really need to do to get ready for a Greek night is abandon high culinary expectation, prepare yourself for copious amounts of cheap retsina, be prepared to make a complete arse of yourself on the dance floor and most importantly have your travel insurance documents handy, as they will be needed at the hospital.

In ancient Greece, dancing was believed to be the gift of the gods. Sacred dances were held as offerings to the deities, as commemorations of key events, and as a way of keeping communities together. Dancing was also taught to soldiers as a crucial part of their military training, especially in Athens and Sparta.

Proper Greek nights will have real musicians with bouzouki and accordion players as these will play the best music and the ones to be avoided are those with electric organs because these are simply not authentic.

The best Greek night that I have been to was in Mykonos in 2005, which was held in a rustic bar in a village in the hills and as well as the food and the wine and the dancing also had table dancing and plate smashing. Breaking plates is linked with the Greek concept of kefi (high spirits and enjoyment). Some say that it wards off evil spirits. Others maintain that breaking plates symbolises good luck (especially for potters I should imagine). Whatever it means it is a lot of good fun. After the traditional meal of lamb washed down with razor blade wine we watched the locals perform the dances correctly and then we were all unleashed onto the dance floor with a frenzy of high kicks and waving arms as we danced with total disregard for the Greek heritage and culture that these dances are supposed to represent. What great fun it was! Goodness knows what the traditionalists thought of it all.

I have to keep returning to Greece now because in the next five years I have to find the perfect venue for my own Greek night. So far the front-runner is Anti Paros where there is an ideal little hotel that will arrange all of the food and the entertainment. It has an excellent sunny terrace and a swimming pool and this just might become a full Greek weekend. Everybody welcome!

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