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Happy Alevromoutzouromata!


Yup! Yesterday was Alevromoutzouromata already! We missed it. Although, you know, once you get to Underpants Day, you know Alevromoutzouromata can’t be far behind.

Alevromoutzouromata is Greek for “people throw flour at each other.” Kidding? Der Spiegel says nein. People of the little village of Galaxidi in Greece celebrate the end of Carnival and the beginning of Greek Orthodox Lent by dancing and throwing 3,000 pounds of colorfully dyed flour at each other. The day is known, brain-hurtingly, as Clean Monday. (Click for pictures).

It all got started, quoth the Tourist Bureau, at the beginning of the 19th Century, when the Ottoman occupiers (read: killjoy Muslims) forbade the celebration of Christian holidays. In protest, the men of Galaxni painted their faces with ash and danced solemnly in the village square on the Monday before Lent. And then when the Muzzies were gone, it was all, like, ‘FOOD FIGHT!’
Weird? Pff! Not even the weirdest Clean Monday celebration on the Island of Greece. That would have to be the Penis Festival of Tyrnavos. There, once a year, you may dress up like a winkie and eat things that look like peens, drink strong beverages from tallywhacker-shaped cups through straws shaped like weiners, stir the spinach soup with unthinkable utensils and sing songs about boners.

I knew about this one. One of my roommates in art school was Greek — a city girl from Athens. She described how her family drove across the island one year on Clean Monday and unwittingly drove into the middle of Peckerfest. In a convertible.

Traumatized for life, poor girl. “Huge penises! They were…all around the car. Pressing against us…dancing…singing…waving things. Oh, it was horrible!”

Despite the timing, this is an explicitly Dionysian festival — another big fat Olde Worlde religion mash-up. Let us hope Galaxidi and Tyrnavos never get together for this one.

August 19, 2008 — 12:45 pm
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