When Does 'Illegal' Become 'Legal'? - When You Call It A 'Tradition'

Some of the traditions that exist around Greek Easter made me think of how we can get away with doing almost anything just by calling it a 'tradition'. At any other time and for whatever other reason, these things just wouldn't be allowed.

At the beginning of Lent, on Clean Monday, the village of Tyrnavos has its famous Phallus Festival. In fact, they call it' Dirty Monday'! On the Sunday and Monday the small town is filled with phallic symbols. People eat phallus-shaped bread, drink through phallus-shaped straws from phallus-shaped cups, kiss ceramic phalluses, sit on a phallus-shaped throne and sing dirty Greek songs about the phallus. Men, women and children!

Could anyone do this anywhere else or at any other time? Of course not. But call it a tradition and you've got carte blanche.

Elsewhere in Greece on Easter Saturday, we have the Rocket War on the island of Chios. Two sides fire rockets at each other across the town centre (see photos) and the winner is the side that hits the bell from the other side's church! People have been injured, houses have been burnt, people have to put protection around their houses, but - guess what? - it's a 'tradition' so it's OK!

Photos from Reuters

In other villages in Greece, 'brave' men dance in the central square with home-made rockets - lit - in their hands. Hands and arms have been blown off in the past, but, hey! It's a tradition!

Have you got anything you'd like to do, but you're not allowed to? Get together with some other people, create a'tradition' - you can surely think up some 'historical' justification - and then go ahead. You can even make it a tourist attraction!

Posted in Labels: , |


  1. Tosha Artsyjewelry Says:

    Interesting post about people having what I would call "double standards". In fact I see nothing wrong with celebrating the phallus, since nobody is getting hurt...:)
    With your permission, I will leave the link to my blog here:
    Artisan handcrafted silver & 14k gold filled jewelryThank you!

  2. symposio Says:

    I agree with you Tosha, it's the double standards. Try and do what these people do - especially the old women with the phalluses (!) - in public at any other time, and you'll more than likely be arrested.

    But it's the rocket war that I feel more strongly about. People who object - for serious reasons - are just ignored and told it's tradition. And here people do get hurt and property damaged.

  3. FishHawk Says:

    Corfu Chronicles has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope you like the image I featured, and I hope this helps to attract many new visitors to your site.

  4. oracle certification Says:

    I like the way how u described all that with examples...
    Nice work...
    But i would like to say some of the "traditions" are right enough...
    Some promote unity,brotherhood,coordination etc...
    But about those which dont have much historical record and which can hurt someone...should not be followed...

Related Posts with Thumbnails