Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dirty Monday

If you've been reading for a while, you may know that I love checking out places of phallic/sex worship.  I find it fascinating, but realize there are a lot of people who probably find it distasteful (there are plenty of people like that in Greece, but that hasn't stopped the event I'm writing about today).  If you're one of those people, this is probably where you should stop reading.

When we learned when Tsagaan Sar would fall this year, Bronte was the first person on my list of people to talk to.  I'd been hoping and praying that our holiday would coincide approximately with the end of Carnival, and - miracle of miracles - it did!  I told her that I wanted to come to Greece for Dirty Monday in Tyrnavos, and would she be interested in joining me?  OF COURSE she would, but she corrected me that it was Clean Monday.  Then she found out how they celebrate in Tyrnavos and conceded the point.

There aren't many traces left of the old gods in Greece.  Sorry, that sounds idiotic.  There are TONS of traces of the Greek gods - you can't dig a subway line in Athens without unearthing somebody's temple - but they sit empty, museums paying homage to a distant past.  Most of the Greeks have moved on, and maybe their gods have, too.  However, in the little town of Tyrnavos on Clean Monday you can still participate in a Dionysion celebration - the making of the Bourani.

Clean Monday is supposed to be the first day of Lent - Carnival ends the night before with a big parade that Bronte and I slept through.  We were in Larisa, but the big party actually takes place in Tyrnavos, and was probably what their friend had in mind when he told Bronte and her husband V that we needed to be careful.  We weren't exactly sure what to expect.  I'd read about this celebration in my ongoing quest to visit sites of phallic worship, but it didn't give me a really clear idea of what was going to take place, other than the fact that it was centered around the town coming together to cook a spinach soup, and that there would be lots of penises decorating the town (I particularly appreciated the ingenuity of the balloons).  This happened in the center of the town, and the good old boys in charge of the soup would grab unsuspecting passersby (such as Bronte) to help stir the soup (and tease them with big phalli, but I'm not sure she wants that picture on the interwebs).  At the same time music was playing, and after the excitement of helping make the soup, Bronte and I sat down in one of the cafes next to the square and she translated some of the lyrics for me.

All of them were sexual in nature.  This one, for example, talks about vaginas - it's one of the few words I know in Greek, thanks to the fact that Azhaar's idiot of an ex once pointed out that my belly dance name - Muneera - included this word (no, I'm not telling you exactly what it'll only get yourself into trouble).  Another song, which was pretty upbeat, centered on a delightful Greek phrase which essentially means, "F--- off," but is translated literally as, "You may f--- me up the ass, but I'll fart on your balls."  Which, come to think of it, could be a very useful phrase in Tyrnavos on Dirty Monday.  Besides that song, there was a certain heaviness to the music that felt ceremonial to me, and made me feel as if I was somewhere in the past.
As far as activities go, there weren't a lot.  There was dancing around the bourani, a Greek line dance that reminded me of dabke, and of course a lot of eating and drinking and posing with the various phallic objects around the square.  Most of the food was still in line with Clean Monday - seafood, halva (which we were served free samples of, and it was warm and wonderful), and vegetarian fare.  For first lunch we ate Greek salad and tzatziki (I ate SO much of them all three days - every meal!) and I had vegetarian dolmades while Bronte ate some octopus.  Neither of those were very satisfying, and we tried second lunch before leaving for Larissa (although it was only in Larissa at a place called Grandma's Cookhouse that we had the meal we were craving).  There were also these amazing fried balls of dough made with "carbonized" water.  They were fluffy and hot without burning my mouth, and covered in chocolate and - heheh - nuts.  We may have broken into a rendition of Chef's "Chocolate Salty Balls."
There was lots of phallic paraphernalia for sale, too.  I decided that most of the penises were for pouring tsiporos - the local beverage of choice - although people were predictably doing naughty things with them, more so the later it got in the day.  The lollicocks didn't come in quite as wide a variety of shapes and colors that they did in Japan, but they were there, and they even had big chocolate ones, the Dirty Monday version of an Easter Bunny, which I definitely picked up for Blondie, since she's the only one who hasn't yet run into Mongolia's big, black American basketball players.  When we first arrived most of the festival goers were old Greek papous and yiayias - grandmas and grandpas - and there were a lot of young children running around too. 
Also for sale were a variety of sizes of bread penises (I suppose there's a joke there to be made about yeast, but I'll leave it).  Bronte observed that they only had sesame seeds on their balls...I asked if she really needed the innocent Mormon girl to explain that one for her?  We sat down at a pub across the street from this bakery for cokes and beers and to watch the changing crowd - the older set was on its way out and the younger on their way in, as one partygoer went "fishing" with a lollicock that Bronte did not particularly enjoy having dangled in her face.  She bumped into two separate people during this time that she actually knew from Santorini, which seemed funny to me because Greece is not that small a country.

Well, people were getting drunker and younger and rowdier so we decided to head back to Larissa around 5.  I'm sure it was a great party that night, but we're a little too old for that shit, and V was already freaked out about sending his wife to a penis festival, so we left with the last of the sunset.  The skies were a cool grey - it had been raining off and on all day - and it took us about a half hour to get back to our hotel.  It was a good day - all three days with her were great, although the trip to get there, eah, not so much.  I'll tell you about them tomorrow.  Sadly, this was the end of the year of the cock.  Yes, I realize that it has actually been the year of the horse, but since last spring I was in Kawasaki for the Kanamara Matsuri and at Christmas I was at the Chao Mae Tuptim shrine, in my world it kind of was the year of the cock.  Sadly when I got back I had a notice on my Blogger overview that said that blogs with nudity/adult content would be made private, so I'm not sure if my blog will be able to stay up in its current state.  Since there's no actual nudity and it has educational value for travelers, this may or may not apply to me, so I guess we'll see.

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