Monday, May 28, 2007

Kataklysmos in Cyprus

Most of the world knows the past weekend as the Jewish/Christian feast of Pentecost, previously called Whitsun in some church circles, and today as a bank holiday Monday for Pentecost, previously known as Whit Monday.

But in Cyprus, the whole of the last weekend, and this next week is known as the Kataklysmos festival. It manages to combine celebrations of Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit first fell on the early disciples of Jesus) with the ancient flood (of which Noah's Ark and its residents were the only survivors). One of Noah's grandsons was the legendary founder of Larnaka - previously known as Kition - so although the whole of Cyprus celebrates this festival, Larnaka is apparently the most flamboyant, and probably the noisiest.

Towards the end of last week, a fair was brought to the sea-front, and hundreds of booths selling sweets, toys, jewellery and a variety of glittery junk at inexpensive rates. The place is crowded. I don't usually go anywhere near the sea-front at this time of year as I'm not over-keen on crowds. However on Friday, the opening day of the festival, our house group decided to have a meal out at Hobo's restaurant which is right on the sea-front, set a little back from the road opposite the band-stand.

It was indeed very noisy, but we had a good time and the fireworks were impressive, if brief:

There were people everywhere:

with children swarming over fairground rides, and running up and down the streets:

Not my idea of heaven, indeed rather the reverse, and I ended up with a migraine in the middle of Friday night. Thank goodness for Solpadeine.

Today, the bank holiday Monday, the sailing club had a regatta. They had races yesterday but Richard didn't feel inclined to enter those; but he decided, with our sailing friends, to join the regatta. Apparently about ten boats eventually left the Larnaka Sailing Club - only forty-five minutes late - and sailed as far as the Finikoudes sea-front, where there's a boat-lane at the far end.

The event was sponsored by McDonald's, who provided lunch for everyone - about twenty people in all - and then everyone sailed back in the afternoon. I gather it was tiring, as the sea was a bit choppy, but enjoyable.

I didn't go, not being very good in strong sunshine, and having no desire to be anywhere near the Kataklysmos crowds on the busiest day of the festival!

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