Later, members of the bereaved families sat on chairs in the

Funerals in Greece are very different from funerals in England. When someone dies here, little black edged posters go up on the walls and telegraph poles giving the name of the person who has died and the time and place of the funeral. In our village it’s always the same little cemetery by the plateia. The whole village turns out for the event and a big procession makes uk canada goose its way from the dead person’s house, following the coffin which is carried by family members Canada Goose Parka and friends. I’ve never seen a hearse though I imagine such things must exist in the towns.

The interesting thing though, to buy canada goose jacket non orthodox christians is that once buried, you only stay buried for a couple of years. The body is then disinterred and the principal bones either go to the family Canada Goose Coats On Sale or are lodged in the ossuary in the churchyard. In our village the ossuary is a little shedlike place with a tin roof, full of dusty shelves stacked with ageing bags and boxes, all with labels. The general idea seems canada goose coats to be that in order to be resurrected on the Day of Judgement you will need your long bones and your skull. canada goose outlet Hmmm.

In Mani there canada goose outlet canada used to be a tradition of funeral laments, canada goose outlet online ‘mirologia’, sung by women at the graveside, passionate improvised dirges accompanied by breast beating and the tearing of hair. We were in a small town near Delphi a few years ago where a group of local boys had been killed in a car smash. A number of families had suffered buy canada goose jacket cheap a loss and the heart rending sound of wailing was everywhere. Later, members of the bereaved families sat on chairs in the square while the entire town filed past to offer sympathy, some hundreds of people.

In a graveyard in Finikounda, we once encountered a group of women gathered around the grave of a lately buried member of the family and they were giving away little plastic cups of sweeties, not sweeties exactly, canada goose outlet black friday but sugared fragments of sweetcorn. A traditional thing, they said. Food for the canada goose outlet dead on their journey, and for anyone who happens to be passing. We wandered off, chewing.

We live in Mani, that central finger of Southern Greece which thrusts down canada goose outlet store into the Mediterranean sea toward Africa. Traditionally, Mani is Canada Goose sale divided into two parts: Outer Mani in the North, and inner Mani, the bony tip of the peninsula.

The little coastal resorts of Kardamili and Stoupa are to be found in Outer Mani. Both places attract large numbers of English holidaymakers in the Summer, mostly families, and the whole coast thereabouts boasts new holiday houses and apartments.

Inner Mani is a different place. The land of evil counsel it used to be called, ‘Kakovounia’, the bad mountains. An empty place, most of the Maniots having emigrated over the years, mainly to Australia, though I did hear canada goose outlet of one man who fetched up in Cardiff years ago and stayed to raise a family there. I met one of his descendants here in Greece. The terraced mountainsides of inner Mani are uncultivated now and the strange villages are half empty.

There is a thin veneer of development: a canada goose factory outlet little tourism, a bit of heritage refurbishment of fortified villages, some promotion of the area’s ancient past. And there are churches of course, literally hundreds of tiny churches, many of them very old and boasting Byzantine frescoes. They are to be found everywhere: in the corners of fields, by the roadside, lost among thorns and prickly pear. Many are in a poor state of repair though seldom abandoned; there is usually a tiny lamp burning inside. Someone comes.

But off the single main road canada goose jacket outlet that runs South to Cape Tenaron, the southernmost point of Europe, what you become aware of is the emptiness of the mountains, the melancholy of absence. We are drawn there, Linda and I, repeatedly. It’s a three hour drive to Tenaron from where we live. We motor up the tiny vertiginous roads to abandoned villages and poke about among the beetling ruins, or camp out, as we did last week, by the sea at Tenaron, sleeping on the rock Canada Goose Outlet cut shelf that was once the foundation of a house, two thousand years ago, but now long gone. A whole city once stood here, where now there is nothing at all except a little ruined church on the headland overlooking the sea, canada goose outlet online uk built partly from colossal blocks of much older masonry. Pausanias, who travelled around Greece in the second century AD, records that a temple to Poseidon the sea god once stood here. Inside the roofless place a little altar stone is piled with votive offerings left by tourists. There are coins, finger rings, earrings, little posies of dead flowers, coloured hair bands, even canada goose outlet new york city a zip toggle.

We went canada goose outlet nyc to a quarry too, last week, a remote spot high in the mountains, at the top of an improbably steep road, where years ago they cut the red stone which was used to embellish the houses and palaces of the rich. They found fragments of stone from this canada goose black friday sale quarry when they were excavating the palace at Mycenae, which was built more than three thousand years ago.

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