Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Day in Cyprus

Ascension Day is supposedly one of the greatest feasts in the Christian year. It ranks pretty close to Christmas, Easter and Pentecost in scale of importance. Yet in the evangelical non-traditional churches we tend to ignore it completely. I'm not sure why. Nor am I entirely sure what one would do to remember or celebrate the Ascension.

Tim, who is organist at St Helena's Anglican Church, will be playing for an Ascension Day service there this evening. He had to eat early, since choir practice - which he runs - is at 6pm and the service immediately afterwards. Then there's a meeting for people who do readings at St Helena's, so he'll be there quite a while. He expects that quite a few of the congregation will be present.

I'm not sure what the Greek Orthodox majority do about Ascension Day, but it's certainly taken fairly seriously in Cyprus since it's a minor public holiday - all the schools have the day off, and while most shops are open as usual, some businesses are also closed. Children are out playing in the streets, and workmen have been hard at work shovelling sand into a new driveway that one of our neighbours is making.

As for me... I did my weekly clean of the guest flat, including washing down the patio at the front which was still sandy after last Friday's sandy rain. Unlike many of my neighbours, I didn't use a hosepipe (since they are banned) but filled a watering can with water and washed away the worst of it using a soft broom. Not nearly as effective as a hosepipe, but I don't want to be caught by a fine. Not that the police are likely to be out today, but I'm British enough that I can't quite deal with unecessary water usage in the midst of a drought.

Mind you, it's been raining again. I woke to the sound of light rain, and there was a heavier downpour at lunchtime. More is predicted for today and tomorrow. Very unusual for May, and I doubt if it will make a lot of difference to the reservoirs. But it does mean I don't have to water my plants today. Besides which, it's been nice clean rain which has helped to wash away the last of the sand.

After cleaning the guest flat and patio, I made some apricot jam. And this afternoon, I did a little updating of my home education site.

(If anyone found this entry wanting to know about public holidays in Cyprus in general, one of the pages on my new site is devoted to that very topic: public holidays in Cyprus. )

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