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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 19. Annunciation Day. In Greek, it's called [ο Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου].
March 25 is a day of double celebration for Greeks, because this date marks the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821. Greek people also celebrate the Annunciation, which is an important religious holiday. So on this day, Greek people enjoy a day of double joy.
In this lesson you will learn information about the various customs related to the day of Annunciation.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
The Greek name [Ευαγγελισμός] is a compound word. Do you know what it means exactly?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
According to the Scriptures, when Mary or [Παναγία] was still young and lived in Nazareth, the Archangel Gabriel or [Αρχάγγελος Γαβριήλ] suddenly appeared before her. The salutation he addressed her with naturally frightened her, but he then managed to reassure her. After this, he revealed to her that she was chosen to bring Jesus Christ, the Son of God, into the world. The Archangel then went onto explain that the conception would be made with the help of the Holy Spirit or [Άγιο Πνεύμα].
This joyful Marian holiday is celebrated during the period of Lent, a time of mourning and fasting. During Lent or [Σαρακοστή], the Church allows the consumption of fish only twice. These two days are the day of Annunciation or [Ευαγγελισμός], even if it falls during the Holy Week, and Palm Sunday or [Κυριακή των Βαΐων], which we talked about in a previous lesson. In older times, in the islands there was always fresh fish available. In the rest of Greece, though, the only cheap and easy solution was salt cod. And this is how cod with garlic puree or [μπακαλιάρος σκορδαλιά] prevailed as a custom for March 25.
Many customs of the Annunciation are related to the belief that on this day spring begins and swallows return. In Greek, spring is called [άνοιξη]. The children remove the traditional wristband called [μάρτης] from their wrists and leave them on the trees so that the swallows will take them and build nests. The children of Epirus likewise go out into the fields with pots and pans and make a deafening clamor in order to scare away the snakes, because they believe that on this day they awake from hibernation. Other customs of the day include the morning wake-up call or [Εωθινό], the procession with candles in [Skiáthos], and the festival in [Farakláta] in [Cephalonia], which honors the Virgin Mary.
Cod or [μπακαλιάρος] is also called the [ψάρι του βουνού], which means "fish of the mountain." Its story starts with the Vikings, who were the first to fish it; it was then salted by the Basque people, and it reached Greece in the fifteenth century, with the English sending the largest quantities in exchange for raisins!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
The Greek word [Ευαγγελισμός] is a compound word. Do you know what it means exactly?
The word [Ευαγγελισμός] etymologically derives from the ancient [ευ], which is an adverb or a prefix in words meaning "good" or "well," and also from the ancient word [αγγέλλω], which means "to herald" or "to announce"—in other words "to bring news". So, the word [Ευαγγελισμός] means "announcement of good news."
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have any celebrations in your country that are related to spring?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

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Do you have any celebrations in your country that are related to spring?