Entering a new decade

Today marks the start not only of a new year, but of a new decade.

Traditional Greek Vasilopita, a cake cut every New Year in households and businesses around Greece

The last decade has been rocky, the new starts with a lot of huge challenges.

Fires are raging in Australia as we speak, and the decade has seen a lot of climatic disasters. Many have lost their homes and even their lives.

We are in the midst of the greatest movement of populations the world has ever witnessed. Wether we like it or not, we are, and will be, for many reasons, inundated with refugees and other migrants, and we must find humane ways of dealing with this issue.

There has been great economic upheaval, a lot of countries being hit with unprecedented crises.

One of the main reasons problems remain insoluble has been a lack of effective leadership worldwide. Petty squabbles, endless scandals, vote-grabbing concerns mean that the job does not get done. Too little, too late.

The biggest effect in our everyday lives has been the rapid advance in technology, enabling us to have access to all information (overwhelmingly so sometimes), to communicate easily and cheaply, to virtually be everywhere. This has its good and bad sides, like everything else, which I shall not bore you by enumerating.

Human nature, in my humble opinion, does not change. It is capable of the best, as of the worst. Violence, greed, atrocities, financial shenanigans, injustice. On the other hand, we have witnessed fantastic new inventions and discoveries, unimaginable progress in medicine and other sciences, great works of art and amazing cases of selflessness, humanity and downright heroism.

However big the challenges facing us, we must remember humankind  has endured for a couple of hundred thousand years. It has faced up to challenges before. We must enter this new decade with optimism and a will to make changes for the better.

 

Smashing a pomegranate on your doorstep is another Greek custom that signifies good luck

Happy New Year to all!

A start

Despite everything, the end of the year is always a sort of celebration, as it heralds a new beginning. Why should things change, just because the date does? They probably don’t, but there is a feeling that they just might. Hope springs eternal!

However, today we woke to the news of yet another carnage, in Turkey. Wars are raging in many places. It is hard to feel optimistic. Still, life goes on, and rituals have a soothing effect on the soul.

In Greece we observe many traditions for the New Year, which I described last December in my post ‘Ringing in the New Year In Greece.’ It was all about smashing pomegranates on our doorstep, cutting the Vasilopitta (Basil’s cake) to find the lucky coin, about fireworks and gambling! For those of you who joined this blog recently, you might like to take a look (here).

Looking back through my year’s output, I thought it would be fun to see which posts were the most popular each month, based on likes (a rather random method most probably, but the only one available.)

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In January, the honors went to Greek Cuisine, featuring many delicious specialities (here).

In February, people loved The first signs of Spring, with its photographs of anemones and almond blossom (here).

In March, the most popular post was about the old tradition of Clean Monday, subtitled ‘A sky full of kites’ (here).

In April, The Minoans, about a very ancient civilization, proved interesting to a good many people (here).

In May, Day Trip to Mycenae, about another enthralling Ancient Greek civilization, took top honors (here).

In June, BrexitGrexit, what else? captured the popular vote, the only political commentary to do so (here).

In July, you were very complimentary on my completing the World Watercolor Month dare – a watercolor each day for a month. The post was entitled I did it! (here)

In August, the most popular post was Midsummer Blues – photos of lavender, figs, a cat and the sea (here).

In September, the Monthly Q&A, of poet Sofia Kioroglou, was the first to be most popular post in a month (here). This feature is always well received, but never made it to the top before. It was followed closely by ‘A short meditation on walls’ and ‘Messing about with clay.’

In October, everyone fell for Auberginesthe new super food (here). This was quite a productive month, as I also wrote about seahorses, an inspired chef, and the colors of fall.

In November, a lot of interest was shown in the The Ancients Greeks and the Terracotta Army, a fascinating theory about an incredible work of art (here).

In December, people were captivated by the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook (here).

So, moving on, what does this tell me? That you love food, art, photos of flowers and lovely landscapes, history, finding out how people live in another country… These are the things I write about, anyway, so the survey is somewhat irrelevant, especially since there were no huge differences in the number of likes. But still fun!

Regarding the number of posts, my aim was to post about twice a week, so around 8 per month. I’ve achieved an average of 7 per month, so not too bad…

And so, 2017 has started. Happy New Year, everyone!