“Opera of the Summer” / “Opera Lata” (15th September 2012) – Participation of the Press Office with the film “Diolkos”

September 15th, 2012,
From 15.30  to 01.00
Park around the Ujazdowski Castle

Open-air music and film evening

Summer Opera is an interdisciplinary outdoor event, entirely devoted to ‘the joy of music’ in a broad perspective: to create music, to listen to it, to understand it, to appreciate it and to dance on it.
Summer Opera is the follow-up of last year’s “Awakening of the summer” which was organized by the network of national institutes for culture and embassies in Warsaw: “EUNIC Warszawa” and CCA Zamek Ujazdowski and which brought 3000 persons to the castle on a warm midsummer night.
This year, once again, the gracious environment of the Castle will transform into a lively European boulevard and the keyword is ‘Opera’. Opera’ in the sense of a spectacular synthesis of arts; combining various elements, often surprising and sometimes disturbing, but always fascinating. The main role in the Summer Opera will be played by cinematography. 3 screens will show documentaries devoted to musicians, music and instruments. There will be animation- and feature films as well as music videos from several European countries and even a silent film. Feel like doing it? There will be a voice-workshop, lessons in Irish dancing, you can make music on what needs to be recycled and – of course – the opera brings also a music workshop for children and parents. Workshops are dedicated to everyone: those talented and those who cannot sing or play.
An Opera is not an Opera without a choir and an orchestra! Therefore on stage: Małe Instrumenty (Poland), Alfredo Costa Monteiro (Portugal) and Anthony Chorale (The Netherlands) and in the late hours: DJ Disco DJ Partizanti (Poland) and DJ PM Misha (Portugal).
For the hungry and thirsty the opera will serve Hungarian, Portuguese and Czech delights and more, more, more!
The opera brings thunder and lightning, but in case the weather is not in harmony with the opera, we will go inside. 
Workshops are open for everyone. No registration needed.
Detailed information on the websites of the organizers and on facebook.

Organizers:

EUNIC Warszawa (European Union National Institutes for Culture): Embassy of Greece – Press Office, Delegation Wallonie-Brussels (Embassy of Belgium), Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Austrian Cultural Forum, Czech Center, Danish Cultural Institute, Instituto Camões, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Goethe Institute, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Romanian Cultural Institute, the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw
and:
Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle / KINO.LAB
Admission Free

The Press Office of the Greek Embassy invites you to the screening of the film “Diolkos”, at 18.30 in KINO.LAB.

A movie for the Diolkos of Corinth

1.500 years since the construction and use of the Corinthian Diolkos, the Technical Chamber of Greece in collaboration with the Society for the Study of Ancient Greek Technology, created a movie presenting one of the greatest innovations of technical civilization of Ancient Greece.
The 22 min. film, created with the use of 3D animations, represents one of the most important technological monuments of Greek civilization, Diolkos: an overland route for the transfer of ships between the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs along the Isthmus (Corinth), when there was no strait. The film offers many other technical details, but also extensive scenes of marine life in antiquity: gaming, visit at the Temple of Poseidon, fun time in a pub, the construction of Hydraulis (hydraulic, water music instrument) and an emotional confrontation.

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Christmas in Greece

Traditionally, the Christmas holiday period in Greece lasts 12 days, until January 6, which marks the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany).
There are many customs associated with the Christmas holidays, some of which are relatively recent, “imported” from other parts of the world (like eating turkey on Christmas day and decorating the Christmas tree).
The modern Christmas tree entered Greece in the luggage of the country’s first king, Otto of Greece, who ascended to the throne in 1833 – yet, the tree did not become popular until the 1940s.
In the past, Greeks decorated small Christmas boats in honour of St. Nicholas. Today, they are increasingly choosing to decorate boats, instead of trees, reviving this age-old Christmas tradition. Undoubtedly, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Greece is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Xmas: A Word of Greek Origin
Where did “Xmas” come from? Some transliterations of Greek spell Christos as “Xristos.” The “X” stood in for the first letter of the word Christ (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ).
“Xmas” has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents the Greek letter X (chi). While in modern times Xmas is regarded as a kind of slang, it was originally considered to be a perfectly respectful.
Christmas (“Χριστούγεννα”), the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus is one of the most joyful days of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Christmas Elves
Greece’s hobgoblins are called “kallikántzari,” friendly but troublesome little creatures which look like elves. Kallikantzari live deep down inside the earth and come to surface only during the 12-day period from Christmas until Epiphany. While on the earth’s surface, they love to hide in houses, slipping down chimneys and frightening people in various ways.
Throughout Greece, there are customs and numerous rituals performed to keep these hobgoblins away. In Epirus, residents place twelve spindles in front of the fireplace to prevent the kalikantzari from climbing down the chimney.
On Christmas Eve, in the town of Grevena, people place a large log in the corner of the house and set it alight. As the fire burns, lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany, it protects the family from the naughty kalikantzari. On the island of Cephalonia, women burn incense at the front door of their houses making the sign of the cross in order to repel these undesirable “guests.”
The “kallikántzari” disappear on the day of Epiphany when all the waters are blessed, and they return to the earth’s core.
Sweets & Treats
Traditional culinary delights symbolise good luck in the New Year and adorn the white-clothed tables. “Melomakarona” (honey cookies) and “kourabiedes” (sugar cookies with almonds) are the most characteristic. In the past, melomakarona were made exclusively for Christmas, while kourabiedes were prepared for the New Year.
Today, this distinction is not observed anymore and both melomakarona and kourabiedes are prepared and consumed throughout the festive season.
Another traditional custom that dates back to the Byzantine times is the slicing of the Vassilopita (St.Basil’s pie or New Year Cake). The person who finds the hidden coin in his/her slice of the cake, is considered to be lucky for the rest of the year.
At the meal table there is also a special decorated round loaf called “Vasilopsomo” or St. Basil’s bread -which is really identical in form to the “Christopsomo” or “Christ bread” eaten on Christmas Day – and the “Photitsa” or “Lights’ bread” that is eaten on Epiphany.
“Kalanda” or Carols
The singing of Christmas carols (or kalanda, in Greek) is a custom which is preserved in its entirety to this day. On Christmas and New Year Eve, children go from house to house in groups of two or more singing the carols, accompanied usually by the sounds of the musical instrument “triangle,” but also guitars, accordions, lyres and harmonicas.
Until some time ago, carollers were rewarded with pastries but nowadays they are usually given money. Listen to some sound extracts with Greek Christmas carols (Kalanda) from Ikaria Island. Things to Do, Places to Go…. 
A Christmas spirit is taking over the squares and streets of the country’s major cities, as local authorities organise a variety of events and festivities, culminating with New Year’s Eve countdown parties in central squares.
Festivities in Athens revolve around Syntagma Square and its Christmas tree, with daily concerts throughout the season, while the National Garden turns into storybook Magical Forest for children.
Thessaloniki runs the country’s biggest Christmas village: the Helexpo pavilions are hosting Christmas Magic City, featuring shows, workshops and a big Christmas market.
The north-western city of Kastoria celebrates with “ragoutsaria,” the local carnival that starts on New Year’s Day, with every neighbourhood forming a carnival group, complete with brass band. In Agios Nikolaos, Crete, the New Year will come from the sea, with the New Year’s Eve party at the port, and Santa arriving on a boat.
And Holiday Performances
Venues and clubs participate in the Christmas spirit with special holiday performances.
The National Opera’s Christmas rich programme includes the Snow Queen ballet and Hansel and Gretel opera for children.
The Athens Concert Hall hosts the Bolshoi Theatre Academy on December 22-29, in a much-awaited performance of the Nutcracker, and the London Community Gospel Choir on December 27-28.
The recently inaugurated Onassis Cultural Centre presents Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée and Victoria Chaplin in their phantasmagoric yet poetic Invisible Circus, on December 28-30 and January 1-2.
At the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, on December 27 & 28, the Sounds of Christmas Go Baroque: a festive concert featuring Baroque Concertos.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)