Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Hellenization of our Family

Hellenize, v. To make Greek in character, culture, or civilization

I am only 1/4 Greek. Our family was Hellenized like the entire world was Hellenized in ancient times.
The Greek culture took over. And I would say I feel 3/4 Greek. Once I started learning about the Ancient Greeks as a homeschooler (hey, I am being homeschooled just like my kids!) I realized we were Hellenized.

The Greek customs were on going. We celebrated Greek Easter. There was a whole lamb on the table at Aunt Dorothy's house. (It even had an apple in it's mouth) We tapped our dark red eggs against one another to see whose egg was the strongest. There were Greek picnics and Greek parades (our sister was even on a float) .

Bread, we learn in A Day in Old Athens, is the main source of food in Ancient Greece. Our family owned a bakery.

The Greeks love the country. This love for the country is present in their writings,
Aristophanes writes in The Clouds,

"A country life for me-dirty, untrimmed, lolling around at ease, and just abounding in bees and sheep and oil cake."

W. S. Davis writes in A Day in Old Athens

"In the country the lads can enjoy themselves; the wife and the daughters can roam about freely with delightful absence of convention. There will be no happier day in the year than when the master says, "Let us set out for the farm."

Our Grandfather had a farm outside of Chicago...for this very reason I suspect.


Then came My big Fat Greek Wedding....

And it was all up on the screen for us to see...That looked like our family....but we had Jimmys...not Nickys :o)

Our brother-in-law who is not Greek saw the movie and said, "That was my life." when he met our sister.

So imagine my delight as I read and learn more about the ancient Greeks...I see our family is all clear. The Greeks had a way of taking over. (Look at the buildings in Washington DC )

They took over our family, and it was interesting and fun and the food was delicious :o)


1/2 Danish

The Danes have a much less pushy culture :o)
We ate amazing sandwiches. Pickled Herring was a treat for the adults. And I learned to knit from my dear Danish grandmother, Julia.

My grandmother told me that they learned handwork in school in Denmark. It was a regular class. She made a beautiful tablecloth I remember seeing...I'll bet Aunt Betty remembers it.

Our Danish grandfather had the dream of a farm too...I've been told...

And the only other thing I remember about this much quieter culture was my grandmother saved her girls long braids in a tissue in the closet. I imagine it was a tradition to grow the girls hair long and then get their first haircut in one big snip. I'm not sure. I always wanted to look at those braids when I was little.


I love the long look back. I love to see the similarities.

Of course, I'll take the 'good parts' and leave the rest behind. :o)

Encourage one about family's cultural history with your will give them wonderful memories,

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