Psarantonis – Photo: Bruno Zanzottera
Psarantonis – Photo: Bruno Zanzottera
Easter is the grandest celebration in the Greek Orthodox Calendar but it in fact predates the Christian religion. Rooted in ancient spring rituals that are associated with the rebirth of nature at the end of the winter, Easter merges the spiritual, the metaphysical and the ceremonial with elation and joy. Though piously observed throughout Greece, it is at its most authentic in Crete: A solemn as much as buoyant occasion, Easter in Chania is accompanied by a host of age-old rituals that serve to reinforce community bonds.
Crete is known for many things: Its palatable treasures are perhaps the most cherished among them. Sun-kissed climate aside, there is another reason why food tastes great here. Packed with goodness, the indigenous Cretan herbs boast an array of health benefits and delectable tastes. They grow everywhere throughout the island of Crete: In the mountains, in farming lands and coastal areas. A lot of them are endemic- botanical studies show Crete has one of the richest and most interesting ecosystems in Europe- and have been known since ancient times for their therapeutic properties. These aromatic plants also account for the distinct flavours and aromas of Crete’s culinary specialities.
February the 14th typically brings along red roses, heart-shaped candy, spicy lingerie and the mandatory fancy restaurant dinner. This year the latter was for obvious reasons skipped, but as tradition demands, the florists got their share of traffic. But how did this all come about?
The new year customarily marks new beginnings. And in light of all the gloom and doom, the world has experienced throughout 2020, who doesn’t crave for a fresh start in 2021? Alas, just pressing the reset button doesn’t really work in real life. But there is hope on the horizon. The much-anticipated antidote to the pandemic has finally arrived, and, protestations aside, many countries around the globe have already started vaccinating their population. No doubt this is going to be a lengthy, strenuous process. Acquiring the desired immunity won’t happen overnight. But then again neither was Rome built in a day.
Another year is drawing to a close. Normally at this time, we’d be preparing to celebrate Christmas in Crete with typical Cretan, high spirited ardor. Alas on “the year that never was”, festivities will look and feel quite different. There’ll be no big friends and family gatherings, no carol rounds, no all-night parties. Even the cherished, annual Chania Santa Run, won’t be taking place in 2020.
Image from www.newsbomb.gr
Whether hard fact or part legend, the tale of the 12 Young Rulers, is an integral part of Cretan history, continuing to inform locals’ mores and beliefs up to nowadays.
With aeons of intriguing, more often than not tumultuous, Cretan history inscribed in their local traditions and way of life, Cretans come across as fierce, proud and imposing. Not unlike true nobles, that is. In fact, while travelling around Crete, it is not uncommon to hear ageing villagers asserting that they are from blue blood: The descendants of aristocracy that once existed in Crete. Before dismissing their claims as old peoples’ ramblings, read on below for one of the most fascinating chapters of Cretan history: The tale of the 12 Young Rulers, though it is in some bits rather loosely documented, it demonstrates that nobility did exist in Crete from the 11th century and even beyond the Venetian era.
Exotic beaches, snow-capped mountains, dramatic gorges and Edenlike plains. World-famous ancient monuments and Unesco heritage sites. Emblematic food, renowned for its health benefits and taste, along with euphoric, potent drink. Proud yet affable locals and an age-old culture of hospitality embedded in everyday life. There are myriads of reasons to love Crete, and the unique Cretan customs and folkways are among the most thrilling. Take the traditional Cretan wedding for instance: An intense, typically multi-day affair to remember, it is marked by enthusiasm and abundance: Food, drink, music, dance, merrymaking, even celebratory gunfire, come in copious amounts. The same motif applies to the guest list. In the case of the traditional Cretan wedding, the more is the merrier indeed.
From the mythological origins of Zeus to the mysterious Minoans with their labyrinthine palaces, truth and fiction have seamlessly blended in Crete from time immemorial. But this is what makes this island, the largest one in Greece, one of the most captivating destinations on the planet.
Granted its incredible cuisine, exotic beaches and ample opportunities for fun-filled adventures, lure a lion’s share of visitors every year. Yet it is Crete’s historical sites, those legendary stomping grounds of men, gods and heroes, that have sparked human imagination since the Iron Age mythographers, that make the difference. Indeed Crete wouldn’t be the same without its one of a kind history and culture. Whether you are into mythology, a lover of literature and art, a history buff or just a worshiper of the sun, a visit to Crete’s historical sites will leave its imprint for life. At the Oscar Suites & Village we are certainly proud of our Cretan heritage and tradition. That’s why we love sharing with you, our dear friends and guests, via our monthly blog posts, the scoop on what to see and do on your visit to Crete. Read on for Crete’s historical sites and the alluring myths that surround them.
Sea-sun-sand -and fun- aside, Crete owes a large part of its allure to the legends of its past. Featuring a fascinating collection of age-old tales and stories hailing from the depths of Minoan prehistory, Mythical Crete continues to capture the imagination of modern visitors.
From divine kings, bull-headed monsters, faux-cows and heroic humans to wild nature goddesses, snake-waving priestesses and the world’s first robot, Mythical Crete never fails to amaze us at the Oscar Suites & Village. In our recent blog posts, we have travelled to the birthplace of the omnipotent ruler of men and gods, Zeus. We also took a peek into his amorous escapades with Europa, the stunning Phoenician princess who would become Crete’s first queen; and then looked into the connections between her son, King Minos, the mighty Minotaur, ingenious Daedelus and valiant Theseus. This time we will be exploring Mythical Crete’s powerful female deities and its gigantic proto-robot.