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Greek Customs and Traditions in America: Planning a Greek Wedding (Part C)
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Alonnisos Island
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Lamb ParcelsNovember Recipe:
Lamb Parcels

(Arni Kleftiko)
2 lbs. boneless lamb, cubed salt, pepper, and oregano
2 tlbs. lemon juice
2-3 tlbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. Kefalotiri or Romano cheese, cubed
1/2 lb. frozen peas
3 carrots, sliced
3 tlbs. margarine
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)
3 large potatoes, cubed
2 large tomatoes, each cut in 6 slices oil for frying
Season the meat lightly with pepper and oregano. Mix wit lemon juice and oil to coat. Cover and marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. In the meantime, blanch the peas and carrots in lightly salted water, for 5 minutes and drain. Heat the margarine in a frying pan over high heat and saute the peas and carrots. Set aside. Heat the oil in another frying pan; add the meat cubes and saute until lightly browned all over. Add the garlic, season lightly with salt, and set aside. Fry the potatoes in a fryer and allow to drain on paper towels. Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet and saute the tomato slices on both sides. Thoroughly butter six large pieces of greaseproof paper or thick aluminum foil and distribute the lamb pieces, vegetables and cheese evenly among them. Top with 2 slices of tomato and sprinkle with oregano and freshly ground pepper. Do not add salt. The cheese will contribute sufficient salt. Wrap and tie with thick cotton string. Place in roasting pan and roast at 350˚ F for about 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Excerpts from:
"Greek Cuisine" Vefa Alexiadou

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 Learn About Greek Customs and Traditions in America:
 Planning a Greek Wedding (Part C)

continued from October Newsletter...

Wedding Gown and Headpiece
Select a wedding gown or dress appropriate to the time and style of the wedding. Consult an American etiquette book. But keep in mind two Greek traditions during the ceremony: The koumbαros(a) simultaneously switches the stιphana three times above the heads of the bride and groom during the ceremony. The headdress should not interfere with the exchanging. Also, you will have to go around a table three times during the ceremony and may want to avoid a large, bulky dress.

Greek Americans from Constantinople write the names of unmarried female friends of the bride on the lining of the train or back hem of the wedding dress to bring them good luck in finding a husband. The names are in back of the bride, so that the friends will follow her footsteps to the altar!

In some areas of Greece it is traditional for the groom to buy the bride's entire wedding outfit. In Athens, brides usually rent modern gowns, but in remove villages elaborate native costumes are worn.

Bridal bouquet

In Epirus the bride's bouquet includes a tiny pair of scissors to cut the power of the evil eye from envious guests!


Bonboniιres (favors of koufιta), are given to guests after the wedding. The bride's parents usually provide them, but in some regions they are the responsibility of the koumbαros(a). Traditionally, the bride and her bridesmaids make them together. Like the bonboniιres for a baptism, they can be simple, with netting and an interesting decoration or much more elaborate (see illustration). The almonds are always white and uneven in number, usually five or seven. Each family decides its own style and amount to spend. Traditionally each guest receives a favor, but it has become common practice at weddings to give one to female guests only. In Cyprus loukoϊmia (little sugar-covered shortbreads with almonds and hazelnuts in the center) are given for favors instead of bonboniιres.

There are numerous ways to distributing the bonboniιres. In the United States the newlyweds sometimes hand them out at the reception, or the bridesmaids may do so. The bride and groom go from table to table with a nicely decorated basket greeting their guests and distributing bonboniιres. If the wedding is large and time does not permit personal distribution, the bonboniιres may be left at the table place settings. Sometimes each favor has a card with the guest's name and table number on it. In this case, all the favors are placed on a general table outside the hall, and guests find their table assignments by picking up their favor.

to be continued...

Excerpt from the book Greek Traditions and Customs

Planning a Greek Wedding?

Wedding Days
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 Featured Destination: Alonnisos Island

Photo of Alonnisos Island(Alonnisos has some of the most impressive diving in the Aegean. Imagine a white marble rock with red furrows crowned with a dense pine forest, plunging into emerald waters forming columns. This may be seen around most of the island, but the most impressive location is at Votsi, a cove one kilometre north of the port of Patitiri.

The Hora, or Liadromia as the locals call it, is built high up on top of a hill far away from the noisy tourism trade. Some of the old traditional houses still stand there despite the destruction wreaked by the earthquake of 1965. Some have been renovated by their new owners while others quietly resisthe inexplorable toll of time.

Alinnisos lies close to a host of delightful. smaller islands: Kyra Panayia with its picturesque monastery, Yioura with the "Cave of the Cyclops", forested Piperi. Pappous islet, Peristera and Skantzoura. These islands are one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered Mediterranean seal, and the area has been classified a marine park for their protection, There is a seal rehabilitation and research centre at Steni Vala, which has gained renown through the visits there of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, known for his efforts to preserve the environment.


Apparently, ancient Alonnisos was the islet of Kyra Panayia, or more likely Psathoura. where the ruins of an ancient city he beneath the waves, Both are to the north of present day Alonnisos: and were once joined with it.

The island has been inhabited since prehistoric times, The ancient city of Ikos, at Kolkkinokastro, was important. Sections of the walls of the ancient fortifications can still be seen. According to tradition, Peleas, the father of Achilles, spent the last years of his life on Alonnisos where his son was buried. One version says that the old name Liadromia derives from Achilliodromia. Several statues and much ancient pottery has been recovered, mainly from Ikos, as have containers for the excellent wine that was produced on the island.

Get the map of Alonnisos here...

Get the travel guide to Alonnisos here...

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Greek Island Hopping 2003

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 Saints' Namedays in November










Ag. Anar/ron Kosma, Damianou
Mina, Viktoros
Ioannou Xrysostomou
Eisodia tis Theotokou
Merkouriou, Aikaterinis
 28 29


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