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Blog

Those wild and crazy Greeks

Charis Weathers

Bellingham had its Greek Festival recently, which basically is a fund-raiser for the Greek Orthodox church and a great opportunity to overeat.

I had the chance to attend with my housemate, who has a Greek heritage. Her smile grew wider and wider as she recognized the hard-to-pronounce names of food, informing me how the items are made and recalling the occasions she and her family would eat these tasty treats when she was a child. The food was good, but it was more enjoyable to watch her bask in the familiarity of the surroundings.

Same dancing started up and she whispered to me, "that's not Greek dancing." Having a hard believing that she could recognize this so definitively I asked how she knew. "Just wait," she said, "I'm sure it'll start eventually."  

Turning my attention to the artery-hardening Greek donuts, my friend soon pointed out the new activity underway in the center of the festival: "now that is Greek dancing!"

There were about five people all in a line, holding hands. They were doing synchronized steps, with the leader at the front of the line setting the pace and step routine. Periodically the leader would point to someone in the congo-like line and that person would become the new leader. It looked very active, and the Greeks can certainly keep it up for a long time! They all knew the moves, and there were no apparent gender rules: men or women could lead, and men as easily held hands with men as they did with women. (Alternatively the dancers place their hands on each other's shoulders.)

What struck me was the connectedness of it all. We don't dance like this in North America. Touching is only for couples, or for short-lived, good-humored congo lines. If it's not in a two-some, dancing is done solo. Sure, it's done in a group on a dance floor, but there is no holding hands and all doing the same moves. If everyone is doing the same moves, then again it's either as a two-some, or it's line dancing where no one touches anyone.

We've got the patent on individualism in the U.S. Heck, we've got the patent on individual faith, too. I wonder what life would be like if we lived more connected, if we practiced our faith more connected? Would we do more Greek dancing?