Friday, 23 April 2010

St George's Day

Today is a bright sunny day, and the trees are covered in clouds of pink and white blossom or else tender pinkish and palest green leaves. The gardens are bright with tulips and violets. A perfect English Spring day to celebrate St George.

It's amazing how very universal he is. Images of George slaying the dragon can be found all the way from England through the Balkans into Greece, Turkey, Syria and beyond. There is a link to the routes taken by waves of crusaders but maybe St George is popular everywhere for being a warrior and a hero. What could be more romantic?

He has also become entwined with local customs and legends, so that he is associated with a variety of traditions. On Buyuk Ada, the largest of the Princes' Islands close to Istanbul, there is a monastery dedicated to St George [Aya Yorgi ] on top of the highest hill. On 23rd April, any girl who wants to find a husband, will walk up the final kilometre barefoot, unwinding a reel of cotton as she goes. If her cotton is long enough and does not break before she reaches the church on the hilltop, she will get her husband within the year.

PS After reaching the church and going in to light a candle, examine all the pictures and hangings and writing a wish to put in the wish box, everyone heads off to the open air restaurant on the very crown of the hill. It's a fact that a simple meal here tastes like the finest feast, due to the fresh air, the sense of achievement at getting to the top and the splendid views across the sea to Istanbul in the distance.

1 comment:

  1. oh !Aya Yorgi and wishes..:)
    Nice view.