When I was living in Pittsburgh I marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade with the Grecian Odyssey Dancers because Pittsburgh didn't have a March 25th parade of its own. It was fun to march in celebration of our ethnic pride, but odd doing so on streets lined with intoxicated adults drinking green beer and shouting out "Baklava!" "Spanakopita!" "Zorba!" I suppose it's our fault that all they know about the glorious history of the Greeks is food and cheeky tidbits from our Greek festivals and movies.
Then a dozen years later I marched in the Greek Independence Day Parade in Boston with my family and students from Hellenic College/Holy Cross. I even made a costume for my son to wear, and bribed him that if he marched he could take his sword. He marched with pride defending the dignity of Greece.
|The second year he marched in his father's childhood costume.|
This time we were among dozens of churches marching with their dance and school groups. This time we marched with an icon of the Virgin Mary, the bishop and mayor. This time they didn't shout out their Greek vocabulary but waved Greek and American flags.
|This is the costume I made.|
I love that when we marched in the Greek Independence Parade we carried a reminder of the best things the Greeks gave civilization: Christianity. And with Christianity came the Fear of God*, Faith and Love... (the Bible and the Saints.)
I miss living in a diverse city. I miss ethnic parades and folk festivals. I miss a country that lives in the fear of God, in faith and in love.
*Fear of God meaning that we respect and want to please God as a creation aware that He is the Creator and we are created, not that we are afraid of a vengeful God.