Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

SKULLS: (Skopelos, Greece)

Whilst searching for yet another 'Mama-mia relic' to fuel Mum's hunger to tread in the footprints of the stars (Pierce Brosnin is scraping the barrel a bit), we came across a Church with a small shed of human skeletons, including a load of skulls. The theories we came up with(what an imaginative bunch our family are), included that this was:

1. A sinister mass grave of poor locals who can't afford a decent burial;
2. Remains of priests from the Church who are interred on site;
3. Remnants of fleeing Turks!!! (for maintaining nationalism).

Well as it happens, our good friend, Polis dug up his father recently here in Greece! Nice. Herein the mystery is revealed. Turns out, in Greece, people have fairly elaborate burial rituals, over four services! On the one hand this may serve to help communities grieve more effectively; on the other, it certainly boosts the Churches income. Clever clever. Firstly there's the burial. Then, 40 days after your poor lo' Pop dies, there is another service, usually at home. After a year, there is another service at the Church. Then…three years later they dig you up, and chemically disintegrate your bones.

"Why"? you might ask. Well it's because of the premium on land, predominantly in urban areas. "Well why don't people just get cremated in the first place"? you may rightly ask (asking a lot of questions aren't you!). This was one Polis couldn't enlighten us on either. However, after a trip to the museum / birthplace of Alexander the Great (nr. Berea), we discovered that the ancient pagan greeks only ever cremated to ensure their loved ones souls would escape their body to start the trip to the underworld. Perhaps the Greek Orthadox Church chose to distance themselves from their roots? There you go…this blog is educational as well as occasionally inane. You learn something, and waste employer's time.

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