A lazy Sunday in Hania and a spontaneous decision to take my mom and her sisters to the village my grandfather came from led to an interesting day of Cretan and family folklore and history.
I’ll leave out the personal stuff as it’s probably useless information to most of you… But I did stumble across some macabre-yet-fascinating things at the cemetery.
Cretans love their mantinades. They are rhymed couplets usually sung spontaneously at weddings and celebrations. Well apparently they’re also used on graves too.
People here use poetry to share their grief and bitterness… Like this grave marker that proclaims in poetry that the survivor (probably a wife) will never go to church again because her faith has been lost by her loved one’s passing.
History is also preserved as is the case by this marker which informs us that this man was killed by the Germans during the brutal Nazi occupation in 1941.
Others, I noticed, visit regularly and share worldly celebrations and holidays with their dearly departed, as was the case with the tombs decorated with Christmas trees and decorations.
I was also given a lesson in my own family history when my aunt showed me the “Family Tomb of Antonios and Zambia Livaditakis”, the grandmother of my grandfather, which would make that going back five generations on my mother’s side to this tiny village in Crete called Sternes.