1st and 2nd Delphic festivals in Lefkás

This is an artwork by Zois Rombotis that is in the National Gallery in Lefkás town.

1st and 2nd Delphic festivals were held in 1927 and 1930 and they were festivals of the arts. These celebrated art, plays, poetry, music, dance and fashion. Not just Lefkádian styles but they had input from all over Greece as were the patrons who attended.

These were instigated by Angelos Sikelianos and his wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos. They were however such a huge undertaking in terms of organisation, promotion and financial cost that the burden proved too much for them. Since there was little state funding in those days, that they had to file for bankruptcy after the second one. This is why they have never been reinstated. Considering how popular they were, how well connected they were and with the amount of money that they must have had at their disposal with only have 1 child, you gotta think are there other forces at work here?

Eva had to return home to the United States to try to acquire funding for more festivals due to the bankruptcy but was never permitted to leave again while her husband was alive due to political tensions and her own leanings. There is something slightly dodgy about this yet this is exactly what is written on the wall. There isn’t an explanation so your just left to wonder how such a thing could happen.

It was so painful for the pair to be separated that he got there marriage annulled so he could get married again with her consent yet she never did. Neither had any more children. The family tree is on the wall though. It is through them that some of the exhibits are there.

There is lots more information about both festivals in the Angelos Sikelianos museum situated in their house in Lefkás town. It was their pet project after all. If it wasn’t for the many donors who contributed to the museum, it probably wouldn’t still be there.

Festivals held in Lefkás

Best wishes

Angela

Saints associated with Lefkás, their churches and shrines

Lefkáda – Panagia Fanoroemeni Monastery (the Virgin Mary) is revealed on August 15th. There are many churches with the same name with the most famous in Cyprus thanks again Google. There is a monastery for her on Lefkás about 3km from Lefkás town. It includes a religious history museum, maritime museum and a zoo. The Venetians had some input to the architectural structure too. This is why it’s the best looking, most well maintained and well known monastery on the island. I am yet to visit this place but you can see many pictures online and on the Wikipedia article there is some info Lefkás but best check elsewhere as it’s rather lacking.

Lefkás town – Santa Maura 3rd May. There is a fort dedicated to her at the top most point of the island. I haven’t visited her either as it was closed the day I wanted to go.

Nidri When they have weddings here it is traditional to honk your horn all the way through the village until they get home which can be quite some distance. It is a very noisy affair as the horn is sounded whenever they feel like it so about every couple of minutes. This is every vehicle in the procession so it can be a cacophony of noise. Just like the Easter celebrations except more vibrant as this is early evening instead of midnight.

White church – This is the church on the top of the island that everyone sees and sometimes they have weddings up here. The panoramic views across the entire area are phenomenal.

Sappho’s leap – St Nicholas the patron saint of Fishermen. St Nicolas 19th December.

Geni – Kiriaki 7th July Agia Kyriaki

This is the shrine below dedicated to her and the church that is nearby. I’ve been inside too for a lovely christening but I didn’t take any pictures as there were 2 professional photographers but I don’t know if I’ll ever see the photos of that event.

As you can see I have visited some areas and not others due to there location.

Do you have any special saints that you worship where you are?

Best wishes

Angela

Eglouvi and the lentil festival

This happens every August around the 7th. Eglouvi means encased which makes total sense when you visit the village as it’s down in a valley surrounded by hill on all sides. The lentils are well known for there unique creamy texture.

The Greeks love their food as you all know so an excuse to celebrate it is always a good idea. There exported all over the world.

I unfortunately haven’t attended this festival because neither me nor my husband drive and it’s been years since we visited in August. It’s a bit too crowded with what seems like the entirety of Italy and Greece’s admin service visiting on their month off.

This village doesn’t appear to have a Wikipedia article as it’s so small but there are other tourist websites out there that will tell you about previous ones.

Do you have any special foods and ceremonies in your country that we should know about?

I like making series and connecting my posts together so that they make sense to you the viewer and reader. This is part of my rural Lefkás village series.

Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Karia

Best wishes

Angela

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

She was born in New York, emigrated to Paris and here she met her future husband Angelos Sikelianos . She then became his wife and moved to Lefkás to live there and learnt weaving of which there are examples of in the museum.

She in fact had learnt this much earlier but she learnt the traditional styles endemic to Lefkás while she lived there.

While reading this post you will have to remember that like all good poets and artists; they like their life to be presented in a certain way which is not necessarily the truth. They have employed artistic license or spin as we might call it now to how there life is displayed for prosperity. As politicians say never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

There is also an element of historical correction/heavy censorship involved to make there lives fit in with what we now deem appropriate for that era. In short they miss out a lot of their social lives because they wish to be remembered purely for their artistic endeavors.

She (Eva), famously said after visiting her ailing mother “I decided that I would never ever wear another thing made by a machine again!” She then proceeds to throw a trunk full of couture clothing from Paris out of the train window.

In truth, she had abandoned wearing western dress long before this moment and it was only her mother that caused her to occasionally wear it so that she would not upset her anymore.

She was also friends with Nikos Kazantzis and George Serefis. Angelos and Eva lived together in a house in the south of Lefkás as well as the one in Lefkás town that houses the museum you see above.

She was responsible along with her husband for the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals but these were to prove the undoing of the couple as the economic cost was too great.

She also helped to revive and prevent the loss of some of the weaving techniques for her clothing. She taught them to Angelos’s second wife Anna Karameni when she was finally able to return to Lefkás just before her death in 1952. Anna lived to be over a 100 dying in 2006.

This museum is more a testament to the Sikelianos family and Anna rather than an accurate portrayal of the lives of Eva and Angelos as it’s so heavily edited. They didn’t live virtuous lives either of them. It’s probably why there is no museum to Byron that I can think yet he is memorialized everywhere. The Greek memory is highly selective and hypocritical given what we know about the sex lives of classical Greeks.

For some more personal details which are extremely lacking in the museum visit here – Eva Palmer Sikelianos. Or if you want an uncensored version from her point of view as opposed to the Greek masculine dominant view that is presented here read or listen to Eva Palmer-Sikelianos-A Life in Ruins.

After listening to the above book I really felt the need to edit this article as previously it only provided one side of the story. So I felt the heavy bias needed to be corrected. This is despite the fact the museum takes up the entirety of the 3 story house it’s contained in.

She is part of my foreigners who helped Greece series:-

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Do you have any notable power couples from the past in your country?

Best wishes

Angela