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The Greek Diaspora
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Featured Destination: Symi
Saint Namedays in April.
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Clay-Baked Black-Eyed Peas with Peppers, Tomatoes, and GarlicApril Recipe:
Clay-Baked Black-Eyed Peas with Peppers, Tomatoes, and Garlic

(For Fasting)
1/2 lb. black-eyed peas
2/3 extra virgin olive oil
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
3 large green bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes, preferably fresh
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
4-6 tlbs. red wine or sherry vinegar to taste

1. Wash and pick over the black-eyed peas. Place them in a large pot of unsalted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain. Place them back in the pot with enough fresh water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the black-eyed peas for about 25 minutes until they are nearly cooked. Remove and drain in a colander, reserving 2 cups of the boiling liquid.

2. While the peas simmer, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and cook the onions and bell peppers until the wilt and glisten. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so. Pour in the wine. As soon as it sizzles, remove the pan from the heat. Preheat the oven to 375˚

3. Combine the peas, the cooked vegetables and their pan juices, and the tomatoes in a clay baking dish with a cover. Add enough of the remaining water from the beans so that about 1 inch of liquid comes up over the beans. Pour in the remaining olive oil. Cover and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the beans are very tender but not yet on the verge of disintegrating. Season with salt and cayenne. Taste and add enough of the vinegar to balance out the flavors. Remove the oven, let cool, and serve.

Excerpts from: "Meze"

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 The Greek Diaspora

For generations, seagoing Greeks told stories to their families of faraway places where their ships had docked. These stories invariably included meeting patriots (fellow countrymen) in restaurants and at card tables in exotic places. Years ago these chance encounters seemed wondrous. A Greek could travel halfway around the world and find a fellow Greek speaking the mother tongue and sharing common friends and relatives from a village or town in Greece. These transplanted Greeks comprised the Greek Diaspora still thriving throughout the world. According to a Greek government ministry, "More than five million Greeks (or more than half of Greece's domestic population) live outside of Greece's borders."

Accurate statistics about the various Diaspora populations and the definition of who belongs in them are difficult to obtain, but the Greek national government published the following numbers in 1997:

America (US, Canada, and South America) 3,402,220
Oceania (Pacific islands, Australia, and New Zealand) 710,000
Asia 69,200
Europe 1,286,740
Africa 139,790
Total 5,607,950

According to Richard Clogg in The Greek Diaspora in the Twentieth Century, the countries with the largest Greek Diaspora populations, in descending order, are the United States, Australia, the republics of the former Soviet Union, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Argentina, and Brazil. Greek communities exist in other parts of the world also, including Egypt, England, Morocco, the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf, and Zaire.

The word, Diaspora, is one of various Greek terms commonly used when referring to Greeks living outside Greece. Diaspora comes from the Greek word, diaspora, which means "scattering." Another word, omogenia, translates as "same birth." The Greek government uses the term Apodimos Ellinismos (Greeks Abroad) for the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, a department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry created to interface with Hellenes in other parts of the world. In this text the term Diaspora is used according to the Oxford English Dictionary definition: "a dispersion, as of people of a common national origin or of common beliefs."

A Long History of Greeks Abroad

Distant settlements date back to the times of the ancient Greeks who were not organized into a single nation but by city-states, leagues, and colonies throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and beyond. Herodotus, the Father of History, writes in the fifth century BC in The Histories about Greek colonies stretching from Olbia (near Odessa) on the Black Sea in the East to Thuria, Italy, in the West.' The Greek language and culture were not confined to the present-day boundaries of the Greek state, and were expanded further when Alexander the Great established Hellenistic communities from the great city of Alexandria, Egypt, to India, in the fourth century BC. Greeks, along with their language and thought, were prominent in the vast Byzantine Empire, which lasted one thousand years from 324 to 1453 A.D. Throughout the centuries, countless small migrations occurred from the motherland and surrounding communities. A Greek presence was recorded in such distant places as the state of Florida in 1768; in Russia, in part due to the invitation of Catherine the Great, in 1779; and in Calcutta with the completion of a Greek Orthodox church in 1780. During the 1800s, migration from Greece accelerated primarily to the nearby areas of Russia, Romania, Turkey, and Egypt. However, migrations to further locations also occurred, such as the exodus to England of people from the island of Chios after the massacre during the Greek war of independence in 1822. In the late 1800s Greece, still recovering from the transition from the Ottoman Empire to a republic, was hit with an economic crisis in the 1890s. This economic crisis, plus the unequal distribution of land and the demands of the dowry system, propelled the mass migrations of the early 1900s worldwide.

Richard Clogg in The Greek Diaspora in the Twentieth Century states that the largest migrations "occurred during the fifteen years or so before the Balkan Wars of 1912-13; in the aftermath of the Asia Minor `catastrophe' of 1922; and during the 1950s and 1960s [as a result of devastation from World War II, the Civil War and an opening of immigration quotas abroad]. Together these great migrations laid the foundations of the present Greek communities in America, Canada, Australia, Germany and elsewhere." Unavailable as yet are accurate numbers reflecting the effect of the collapse of communism in 1989 in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries.

The Greek Americans Volume I
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 Featured Destination: Symi

SymiA lovely, mountainous island, Symi (or Simi) was reputed to be the birthplace of the Three Graces.

While its interior is punctuated with small valleys, its coastline alternates between being steep and rocky or sandy and indented with little coves.

In antiquity it bore the names Aigli and Metapontis. It took its present name from the nymph Syme, who was Poseidon's wife.

After its conquest by the Knights of St. John in 1373, commerce and shipping flourished until steam replaced sail. The stately mansions in the main town date from this period, which reached its peak in the 19th century.

The capital in the north of the island bears the same name and is divided into the upper and lower town, Ano Symi and Kato Poll. The lower town is also called Yialos. The two districts are linked by a lane so steep it has steps. It is flanked by charming neoclassical houses, some of them painted in warm pastel colours, with balconies and peaked red tile roofs. Many of them also are embellished with neoclassical features on the doors and windows. Their interiors are decorated with wood carvings, the locals having been adept at the craft for generations.

The highest point in Ano Symi is capped by the usual castle of the Knights of St. John, whose emblem can be seen above the main portal.

The traditional village of Ernborios is Symi's second port. The ancient town of Metapontis was situated close by.

One of the island's most famous landmarks is the monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis on the southwest coast. Built in the early 18th century, it overlooks the bay bearing its name in a setting combining mountain and sea.

It contains marvellous Byzantine frescoes and an intricately carved iconostasis.

There is no lack of wonderful beaches on Symi. You'll find good swimming at Yialos, Pedio, Emborios, Marathounda, Nanou as well as on the nearby islets of Agia Marina and Nimos.

Get the travel guide to Symi here...
Get your map to Symi

Visit more parts of Greece with the Cadogan guide

Greece On DVD - 5 dvds

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 Saints' Namedays in April










Good Friday

Easter Sunday

12 13
14 15 16 17 18
20 21 22 23
Ag. Georgiou
24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Icons depicting the celebrated Saint, make great gifts for namedays.
Shop among our great collection of icons at our store. Also available, nameday, birthday, holiday, and special occasion greeting cards.

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