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May Newsletter
This Month 
Greek Superstitions
Athens 2004 Official Coins
What's New!!!!
Featured Destination: Amorgos
Saint Namedays in May.
May Recipe.
Suggestions & Comments.
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Clay-Baked Black-Eyed Peas with Peppers, Tomatoes, and GarlicMay Recipe:
Springtime Stuffed Artichokes with Citrus - Saffron Sauce
Makes 6 to 12 servings

12 large artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 cut lemon
For the filling
6 tlbs. extra virgin olive oil
4 scallions, finely chopped, including as much of the upper green top as possible
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small carrot, pared, trimmed, and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup Carolina rice
1 fresh or defrosted frozen cod fillet, from any other white fleshed fish, shredded of finely chopped and bones completely removed
3/4 cup white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup mixed finely chopped fresh herbs: mint leaves, dill, parsley, and wild fennel

For the sauce
1 tlbs. unsalted butter
1 tlbs. flour
1 cup vegetable broth or stock
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Clean the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon in it. This is the acidulated water necessary to keep the artichokes from turning brown.

2. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut off the stem of each artichoke at the base, so that it can stand upright. Lay the artichoke on its side, hold it from the stem end, and cut through at about 1 1/2 inches from the base. Discard all the upper leaves. Using the same knife, and holding the artichoke the same way, trim the crusts off bread. Immediately take a teaspoon and scrape out the hairy choke. Rub the artichoke with the cut lemon and drop the artichoke into the acidulated water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

3. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the artichokes and blanch to soften, about 8 minutes. Remove and drain.

4. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté all the vegetables together until soft. Rinse and drain the rice and add to thee vegetables. Turn to coat in the oil. Add the fish. Add the white wine and 3/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until most of the water has been absorbed by the rice. The mixture should not be completely dry. Remove. Mix in the herbs.

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil an ovenproof glass or earthenware baking dish large enough to hold all the artichokes.

6. Fill the artichokes with the rice mixture and place in the pan. Add enough water to come about one-third inch up the artichokes. Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked and the artichokes tender.

7. In the meantime, make the sauce: Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. When the butter melts and bubbling subsides, add the flour. Stir with wire whisk or a wooden spoon until the flour is smooth and pasty and has turned a light golden color. Pour in the vegetable broth or stock, saffron, water, and citrus juices. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium and stir until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of a loose gravy. Remove. To serve, place one or two artichokes on each serving plate and spoon the sauce over and around them.

Excerpts from: "Meze"

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 Greek Superstitions

Greeks love garlic - in sauces, dips, stews, roast lamb, and even in their pockets!. A popular superstition says that garlic protects against the evil eye. If a child looks attractive, inviting the envy of others, the mother may take a little precaution by tucking a clove of garlic in the child's pocket.

Such folk superstitions are common among Greeks and many other nationalities. The superstitions below probably span thousands of years and thousands of miles. Most Greek Americans view them as fun and colorful - a form of amusement - yet many give lip service to at least a few!

Preventing Misfortune

Do not spoil a good thing by bragging or predicting success. Overconfidence can bring failure. For example, never brag that you will get an "A" on a test before it is returned or make a million when the deal is closed. If you boast ahead of time, you may fail. Even in ancient times, myth had it that the gods chastised those who became too over confidant. When the triumphant Agamemnon returned home as a conquering hero from the Trojan War, he walked on a purple carpet reserved only for the gods. His arrogance offended them, leading to his downfall.

Knock on wood (Ktίpa Ksίlo)
Knock on wood to keep a good thing from going wrong. This is a cousin to the idea of jinxing. If you must predict that something will go well, for example, "It looks like the sun will shine for the wedding," knock on wood several times to keep away the rain. This custom may have religious origins, May early Christians carried pieces of wood believed to be part of the original cross. When in danger, they touched the wood, receiving God's protective power.

Prevent third misfortune
Some believe bad things happen in three's. After two bad things have occurred (such as two funerals) say, "Na min tritósi" (May it not triple") to prevent a third unfortunate event.

Evil Eye: Identification and folk remedies
Contrary to popular opinion, the evil eye (vaskanίa) is recognized by the church as a legitimate religious phenomenon. It is part of a larger picture of evil generated by the devil. The church helps its parishioners exorcise the evil eye with a prayer offered by the priest. Some people practice the following folk remedies, even though the church discourages their use.

A popular folk method to determine if someone has the evil eye is to put three drops of oil in  a glass of water. If the oil stays separate from the water, you do not have it. If the oil blends with the water, you do.

Preventing the evil eye
"Ptoú, ptoú,"

The most common protection against the evil eye is the simple phrase, "Ptoú, ptoú," said immediately after receiving a complement. A cautious Greek parent upon hearing, "Your daughter is so smart," would encounter with "Ptoú, ptoú," to keep the evil eye from harming her. Or it might be said by the person who gives the compliment. The phrase is a verbalizing of spitting to scare away evil spirits. In the Orthodox baptismal service, the godparent spits three times and denounces Satan.

Na mi se matiáso (Not to eye you)
One way of giving a compliment without bringing on the evil eye is to end the remark with, "Na mi se matiáso" or "Ptoú, ptoú, na mise matiáso." This lets the person know that you are not putting on the evil eye.

Eye over the door
Some homes keep a picture of an eye over the main entryway to dispel envy brought in from the outside.

Matί The matί ("eye") is a folk talisman made of blue stone, glass, or plastic with a black eye in the center. It is commonly  given to newborn babies and pinned to clothing at the upper back. Adults also wear it as a pin, a necklace, on a charm bracelet, and even on the same chain as their cross. Although frequently viewed with amusement, the matί evokes a skeptical respect from even the most sophisticated!

Layman's Prayer (Ksemátiasma)
Another folk remedy employed by the Greeks to dispel the evil eye is a ritual prayer (ksemátiasma) that is passed on orally. The prayer cannot be written, or, legend says, it will lose its power. If you are a woman, you must learn it from a man; if you are a man, from a woman. It is passed on when the bearer is old as the bearer's power is lost once the prayer is revealed.


Use the same door
Use the same door when entering and leaving someone else's house. To not do so, invites bad luck on an impending matter, such as marriage proposal or a business deal.

Reading coffee cups
After finishing a cup of Greek coffee, swirl the dregs, turn the cup over into a saucer and cool. The grounds from unique patterns inside the cup that are then read by a fortune teller (kafetzoú). This is a common form of entertainment.

Beware of knives
Do not hand  a knife directly to someone, or you will have an argument. Lay it down, and have the person pick it up. If you hand a knife, say "Ptoú, ptoú."

Ringing Ears
You will hear some news

If you sneeze, you are telling the truth, or someone is talking about you.

Rece0iving soap, knife, cologne, and handkerchiefs
If you are given a handkerchief, cologne, or a knife, hand the person a penny to avoid an argument and loss of friendship. Never give a friend soap as a gift or hand it to them. It washes away the friendship.

Fold in bedspread
Fold up the corner of the bedspread before going on a trip, so that you will return safely.

Excerpt from the book Greek Traditions and Customs

Athens 2004 Official Coins
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A great numinismatic event takes place every four years, as the host country mints a set of official Olympic coins. Greece, as the organiser of the 2004 Olympic Games, also bears the legacy of the 27 centuries since the striking of the first coin, in Aegina in 687 BC.

The famous Greek painter and engraver Panagiotis Gravvalos, who is responsible for having literally "engraved" the philatelic history of the modern Greek state by designing hundreds of stamps, also undertook, on behalf of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games in Athens, to design the Olympic Coins. The reliefs were created with great skill by the well-known sculptor Kostas Kazakos who, having worked for five years for the Greek Mint, has put his signature on several of Greece's most beautiful coins.

The Olympic Numismatic Programme consist of six series of coins, each of which is to include one gold and two silver coins. The first of these series will be released in March 2003 and the sixth and final one in June 2004.

The coins will be a strictly limited edition issued in comparatively small numbers. There will be 28,000 gold coins and 68,000 silver coins per design, while the total number will not exceed 160,000 gold coins and 800,000 silver coins.

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 Featured Destination: Amorgos

Amorgos (Area 13 4 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 138 nautical miles).

The oblong shape of the mountainous and barren island of Amorgos lies on the eastern edge of the Cyclades,almost in the Dodecanese. In some places, the coastline is steep and rocky, while elsewhere it forms quiet, shady bays.

The ruins to be found all over the island and the important archaeological finds discovered there (some of which are in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens) are testimony to the fact that Amorgos was inhabited in prehistoric times and was a place of great importance during the period of the Cycladic civilization.

In antiquity, there were three flourishing and independent cities on Amorgos: Minoa, Arkessini and Egiali.

At Katapola, the main harbour of the island today and the location of the interesting church of Our Lady 'Katapoliani' (built on the site of a temple of Apollo), traces of ancient Minna have come to light.

Swimmers will be delighted by the superb beaches to be found in the vicinity.

The whitewashed houses of the capital of the island, Hora or Amorgos, spread out beneath the Venetian castle which stands on the peak of the hill.

The typical Cycladic architectural style of the double or 'twin' church is much in evidence here.

The Archaeological Museum has finds from all over the island and is well worth a visit.

To the north-east of Hora, at the foot of a rock, is the Byzantine monastery of Our Lady 'Hozoviotissa', one of the most important monuments of its kind.

The second port of Amorgos, Egiali, is a pretty village famed for its superb sandy beaches and consisting of three distinct 'quarters'. It is easier to reach Egiali by sea than along the poor and steep road linking it to Hora.

ln the south of the island, Arkessini stands near the site of the ancient city of the same name, amid a group of picturesque whitewashed hamlets.

The road network of Amorgos is nearing completion, and will link up all the villages on the island.

Amorgos has few hotels or rooms to rent. Yet despite the limited facilities available for visitors, the fine beaches and particular beauty of the island attract more and more tourists each year.

Get the map of
Amorgos here

Get the map of Amorgos here!
Visit more parts of Greece with the Cadogan guide

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 Saints' Namedays in May
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday





Zoodochou Pigis


Kurillou & Methodou
12 13
sergiou / Glykerias
14 15
20 21
Kon/nou & Elenis
22 23
24 25 26 27
Ioannou Rosou
Tis Analipseos

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

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