Sunday, 26 December 2010

There was far too much food

as usual. The Greeks we know have a tendency to over-cater. They are very generous people. My father and I do not eat large quantities of food at one sitting. (It annoys me that I still weigh far more than I should because I do not over eat.)
This year my brother-in-law, at his father's insistence, put an entire lamb on a spit. Merely the sight of that much meat was enough to put me off. There was however very little of it by the end of the day. It had been consumed by hungry hordes of teenagers and adult Greek males. There were also prawns for a starter, little Greek sausages and chicken shashliks. I cannot tolerate shellfish of any kind and I am not very keen on large quantities of meat so I ignored most of this.
But there were also huge bowls of salad...scrumptious, luscious salad. I am happy eating lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado and the like - just don't put vinegar in the dressing and I am happy. My sister knows this so there was plenty of salad for me and for my father. He has similar tastes.
Later, when the lamb was not much more than a sad heap of bones, there was the usual ritual of "Father Christmas". My sister's FIL was well enough to resume his role as the venerable gentleman this year. The ritual is conducted in Greek. My father does not understand a word of Greek. In context I can manage perhaps one word in ten - and I recognise the names. It must be the one time of the year when the youngest generation get called by the Greek version of their names.
Their Greek is also limited. My nephews were sent to Greek school. They understand their grandparents up to a point. They reply in English, as do their cousins.
Every year I wonder at this Father Christmas ritual. The year my sister's FIL was not well enough to do it one of my nephews did it instead. He conducted it all in English. He played the role well, as anyone who has had acting training should do. It was fun for the participants but it was also different.
There will come a point where the ritual will not occur at all. It will die out when my sister's FIL dies. It happens because of him. There are no very small children at these events any more. Some time in the future there might be small children again but I doubt that there will be a Greek speaking Father Christmas. I hope there will still be a Father Christmas.

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