Eat Greek And Be Merry!

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Eat Greek And Be Merry!

BASKING IN THE WARMTH OF A PDX AFTERNOON THE OPA WAY

I look forward to the Holy Trinity Greek Festival all year long.  It is held every October and by July I start anticipating the smoky fragrances of roasting lamb on the spit, and the hot oil fryers of the pastry tent.  We’ve been going for so many years I’ve lost count.  We’ve watched it grow and expand over time to accommodate the ever-burgeoning crowds in what appears to be a hugely successful fund-raising event for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Our annual pilgrimage takes us to the lovely tree-lined streets and vintage homes of Laurelhurst, one of old-Portland’s premiere neighborhoods.  Finding parking on the residential streets can take a bit of tenacity, but we always manage to find a spot without too much trouble and walking through the neighborhood is a part of the pleasant experience.

IMG_8250

tree lined streets of Laurelhurst

Laurelhurst

A beautiful Sunday in Portland, Oregon

As we make our approach to the church, we are first greeted by the delicious aroma of lamb roasting and the sounds of  bouzouki music.  I always have to exercise a certain level of self-restraint when I hear Greek music as it tends to make me want to extend my arms, start snapping my fingers and exclaiming opa!

the aroma of roasting lamb

roasting lamb

A large tent is set up where the ladies of the parish sell their homemade pastries… all Greek traditional  tasty treats like baklava and other things I can’t quite spell or pronounce the names of, but all delicious, every one, I’m sure.

Greek pastries

Greek pastries

Loukoumades, which I suspect means little-fat-pills in Greek, top my list of Greek savories.  They are basically doughnuts, fried and dipped in honey or a sugary syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon.  They are definitely a must have every year and very popular.

At the loukoumades booth

Living proof that loukoumades make you smile!

Help yourself!

Soooo good!

But, before dessert, we head for the the dining hall where we feast on a traditional Greek chicken dinner.  Tables are set up in the gymnasium and people are seated family style.  I really like this part of the festival, because invariably we meet nice people.  It is not an everyday thing to dine with people you don’t know, but it works in this situation and seems like a very Greek thing to do.

Dining family style

Dining family style

Dinner begins with a Greek salad with feta cheese, olives and tomatoes.

Greek salad

The main course consists of roasted chicken, orzo, green beans Greek-style of course, and a kourabiedes cookie for dessert.

Greek chicken dinner

Greek chicken dinner

After dinner, we take a trip through the market area where various Greek imports are sold.

Greek marketplace

Greek marketplace

I always try to stop in at the Ethos bookstore to pick up an icon for my refrigerator icon collection.  This year I found a rather stern image of Christ; I like it, it’s different from any others than I have and will be a nice addition to my growing number of magnets.

Ethos  bookstore

Ethos bookstore

my refrigerator icon collection

my refrigerator icon collection

Next we go to bask in the afternoon sun for awhile and watch the children dance in their traditional costumes.  It is nice to see them learning and carrying on their traditions.

traditional dancing

traditional dancing

We always like to visit the church; it is very beautiful and peaceful and while typical of orthodox churches, quite different from western churches I am familiar with.   I always begin by buying a candle.

Buying a prayer candle

Buying a prayer candle

And what is one to do with a prayer candle, but to light it and say a prayer, of course.

Sending up a prayer

Sending up a prayer

We go into the church for a few moments of reflection in the quiet under the gaze of the icons which line the walls.  It definitely feels like a holy place and quite a contrast to the party atmosphere just beyond the front door.

In the narthex

In the narthex

the Nave, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

in the Nave looking toward the Iconostasis

And for the finale, we make our obligatory visit to pasty tent for a dessert and  Greek coffee

Greek Festival, 2013

Greek Festival, 2013
Until next year!

 

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17 responses »

  1. Great post :) I really like it a lot. It seems you had some fun there. Since I am from Ukraine I’ve been to such churches many times. In Ukraine we are orthodox as well. But anyway a nice post ;)

    • I appreciate the orthodox churches very much. I had the good fortune of going to Turkey and seeing the great church, Hagia Sophia. It inspired me in a way I could not have anticipated coming out in my work with fabric. Interesting how these things happen.
      Thank you for your kind words and welcome to the US. :)

  2. What a wonderful post Kerri! I enjoyed seeing the visual record of your experience and the video brought back cherished memories of a vacation in the beautiful Greek Islands. Many thanks! Shelley

    • So glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been to Greece, too, which no doubt accounts for my enjoyment of this festival. I’ve not been to the Greek Islands, though… maybe one of these years. :)

  3. Oh it looks like you had a lovely day! The desserts sound great.
    My brother has just moved to Portland and he was complaining that it rains all the time, judging by your photos, he was fibbing!

    • Actually, your brother is telling the truth, it does rain a lot all over western Oregon. The week before the festival the weather was worse than usual; we experienced the tail-end of two typhoons blowing in from the Pacific coast, one from China and another from Japan. The wind gusts were 55mph and drenching rains and power outages for days. And then, the sun came out and smiled down upon us with 70′ weather for the festival. That’s how it goes here in God’s country. You tell your brother to hold tight until July and the weather will be glorious again. :)

      • Aha, the storms would explain his mood indeed! Of course, he just moved up there from Phoenix, which is a bit more of a shock than if he had moved straight to Portland from Ireland! :) I’ll tell him to hold on!

        • Oh, Phoenix, is it. That explains it. Yes, I was thinking to myself that he must be from Ireland and our weather is very Irish, so what’s the problem? :)
          No, seriously though, it can be quite depressing to people who are used to sunnier climates. Lots of people take extra vitamin D to help combat lack of sunshine. My theory is that we are paid back for putting up with all the gray days when the sun finally does come out, because it is extra beautiful with all of our green.

        • I think you appreciate the good weather more when you get so many wet days. Like here in the south of France, if you say “Oh it’s a beautiful day today”, the locals would reply “So?” but in Ireland it’s a major topic of conversation! :)

        • I totally agree. When it is gray or foggy or raining much of the year, one does tend to appreciate the warmth of sunshine and beauty of a blue sky a little more than those who take such things for granted.

  4. Thanks Kerri for the trip to the Greek Festival. Great photos. I love all things Greek, especially the food. My friend was married in a Greek Orthodox Church and it was the one and only time I have ever been in one of their churches. I remember the ornate decorations and a marriage service that we couldn’t understand as it was conducted in Greek.I love your Icon collection. You have lots of inspiration for your fabric mosaiics. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this. It is so fascinating learning about what is happening everywhere else in the world! It looked such a special event to be part of. I love the fridge magnets!

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