Friday, April 22, 2011

Homer, Tree-gum and the Rocket war!

Since I've decided to do this, its only proper to present the place I'm proud to call home. It is one of the biggest islands in the north-east part of the Aegean Sea, named Chios. There are many speculations as to why it was named Chios. The most prominent ones are that it was either after Chioni (Χιόνη), the daughter of Oinopion the first ancient king of Chios who came from Crete, or from Chios (Χίος), son of Poseidon, who was named after snow (χίονι) because it was snowing the day he was born.
The town of Chios

Chios is mostly famous for three reasons.
The main one is that it is the only place on Earth you can grow and collect a special kind of tree resin, which has many medicinal uses, is used for cooking or of course you can just chew it as a gum. It is also nicknamed "tears of Chios". There is a traditional procedure to produce mastic, which is still kept in the medieval castle-villages called the Mastic-villages to the south of the island.

The second reason, is that Chios is the home island of the famous ancient greek epic poet Homer (the one who wrote "Iliad" and "Odyssey"). You even find the place that is considered to be the place he used to teach, know as "Δασκαλόπετρα" which means "The teacher's stone".

Last, there is one more reason it is really famous for. During the Easter, on Saturday night, after the priest reads the gospel and announces that Jesus has resurrected, two orthodox churches on two opposite hills celebrate in a strange way. They hurl rockets at each other, each one trying to aim the other's bell tower. Yeah, yeah, i know.. it sounds a bit crazy and dangerous. But everyone is doing their best to prevent injuries or fires, so the damage is contained. And it is a really wonderful scene.

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