Today, 25th March, is Greek Independence day with celebrations in most villages, towns and cities. In Kritsa there will be a church service followed by a parade of school children and members of the local cultural association wearing traditional costume.
These photos of proud Kritsa children are from three years ago.
In larger towns, the parades also have service personnel and groups such as the red cross, scouts and guides and perhaps a local band. In Kritsa, the stirring music comes via a tannoy system.
It would be easy to think the day commemorates when Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, but in fact, it is remembering the day the rebel flag was first raised in 1821.
It took nine years of war and dreadful bloodshed before Greece finally became an independent state under the London Protocol of February 1830. Not so for Crete as their struggle continued until eventual expulsion of Ottoman forces in November 1898.
This graphic painting is symbolic of the bravery of people who took their own lives rather than submit to tyranny and brutality of the occupying forces.
We are fortunate that today we can enjoy the Greek celebrations for independence.
Rodanthe, now known as Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa is the heroine of Kritsa. She lived and fought disguised as a young man until the fateful battle against a combined Turk and Arab force in 1823, when her dreadful injuries led to the discovery he was in fact a she. All these years later, Rodanthe and her fellow rebels are remembered at an annual memorial service, and the main road through the village is called Kritsotopoula Street in her honour. Eventually the street becomes an alley and at the far end you will find the Kritsotopoula museum. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 to 3.00 the museum is managed by Maria, whose family tree runs back to Rodanthe’s family. Maria loves the opportunity to chat to visitors and, if she’s not too busy, you’ll be offered a coffee. This private museum depends on donations so I do hope you’ll leave an expression of your thanks in the basket provided.
Popular novelist, Beryl Darby, author of Yannis and over twenty other novels set in and around Elounda, recently paid her now annual visit to Kritsa. You can click on the book image, left, to learn more about this excellent set of books. Once again we visited the museum, this time with a group of friends. Despite our visit coinciding by a large group who had arrived in Kritsa via the little blue train from Agios Nikolaos Maria made us very welcome, offering refreshments and giving us access to a lovely courtyard.
Among our group was Lin Lucioni an ardent fan of Beryl’s books. As Lin, and her husband, Paul were celebrating a wedding anniversary it gave me a great excuse to bake a cake.
Lin and Paul
After thanking Maria for her time and the very welcome drinks we moved on to continue our Kritsa visit.
If you would like to see more about this lovely museum you can visit the Facebook page by clicking here.
Author of Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa and Rodanthe's Gift