Love is in the Air: Stories of Love and Spring: Springtime on Spetses, Mary Irvine
by Mary Irvine
In Spring the winter clothes are packed away and the summer ones unpacked, smelling of naphlia. The island is awash with the colours of wild flowers – sedges, daisies, profusions of margaritas, cyclamen, all the blossoms of the various fruit trees – almond, apple, orange, lemon, quince, fig, olive. Carnival, the last week before Lent, is celebrated. The burning of the meats is celebrated. The first day of Lent, Clean Monday, is celebrated and kites are flown though no-one can remember why!
Independence Day, March 25th, is celebrated. The children celebrate the rising of Lazarus, moveable. Easter, moveable, is celebrated. The lambs are slaughtered and, once over, the silence is truly deafening. Eggs are placed on all the graves. The epitaphia are solemnly paraded through a silent and candlelit town. The eternal flame, brought from Constantinople, not Istanbul, is shared. Homemade fireworks are lit and hunting rifles discharged and the people go home by candlelight to their margaritsas. The lambs are cooked on the souvla. There is picnicking, music and dancing.
The houses are whitewashed, the shutters and doors painted in the island colours, bars and restaurants begin to prepare themselves for the tourists hoped will come; gardens and wasteland are cleared of dry grass and rubbish – a precaution against summer fires as well as snakes. Spring is a season of beginnings and preparations, for people as well as nature.
by Mary Irvine
Photograph by Mike Taylor
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