Wednesday, June 24, 2009
No this wasn't Cybele being sacrificed to the gods; it was the Fire Jumping festivities on the eve of St. John the Baptist Feast Day. All the saints have one, those lucky ducks. We arrived around dusk, and there was traditional dancing, free open grilled octopus, free drink, and culminated with live traditional Greek music. The fire jumping is a yearly tradition. If one jumps over it three times, it brings them good luck for the year. Of course most of the college students did it, and Cybele summoned up the courage to do it all three times, first with Cathie, then with me, then with one of the students. Aran decided he was too clumsy to risk tripping face first into the flames, so he didn't try it. It looks much more dangerous than it actually was, but then again, some kid, maybe 10-11, landed a little too close and fell backward into trailing coals. He was immediately dragged away and patted down. He was fine, just freaked out. That minor mishap didn't do anything to dissuade anyone else, as there was some dude who did a handstand flip over the flames 3 times, a bunch of little kids going crazy running around, through, and over. Most of the time the flames were not as high as in the pictures, more like a smoldering fire that one could roast marshmallows on. Someone would stoke it by throwing dried herbs on it. There was also dancing to the traditional music just off to the right beyond the frame of the picture. We certainly are immersed in the local culture. What an experience!