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On the day of the Holy Spirit a morning feast takes place in Alimpista, a mountainous village of Aetoloakarnania, inhabited by only two families. Even though the road from the nearest town Thermo to Alimpista is not in good condition, the space in front of the Trinity church is full of cars. After the church service hundreds of people queue in front of the meat vendor for grilled lamb. Many visitors bring pies, cheese and other foods from their homes.
Singing and dancing
Even though the morning is not appropriate for eating and drinking, the morning dew is appetizing for people. The beer crates empty fast and the jokes are endless. The people in Aetoloakarnania are witty and smart, but they are also direct and unassuming. They make sharp jokes and tell tempting truths in their rough accent.
The feast wouldn’t be the same without folk music, and the ladies dance vibrantly. The echo and the smell of burning food fill the air. The young children are restless at the table and compete about who will toll the bell of the tiny church.
As time passes, some young motorcyclists arrive at the feast. The noise from the exhuast pipes is a head-turner. Even sleepy, the young motorcyclists honour the tradition. Years ago, the young men turned up in horses and "fustaneles" (greek traditional skirts).
This small village needs this kind of gathering so that relatives can meet up after a long time, and also for the matchmakings that begin in winter and bloom in spring. The roots of the morning feast are lost in time but it is likely to be an ancient tradition, perhaps in honour of the Greek god Apollo.
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS