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Obertshausen – The 25. December is a special date for the Greek. After celebrating with family on Christmas Eve, they are now drawn out to meet friends and neighbors. By Michael Prochnow
In foreign countries, this desire is even more pronounced, describes Dr. Savvas Savvidis the custom. He is chairman of the cultural association Megas Alexandros Obertshausen, which opens the opportunity for compatriots to meet in the atmosphere of the homeland.
Several hundred Greeks flocked to the community center on Christmas Day. They came from the city and district of Offenbach, even from Frankfurt to Hausen to dance and chat. Helpers were permanently busy setting up more tables and chairs. There was hardly enough space to move in the typical circles to the beats of the band Moussa.
Step sequences in elaborate costumes
The steps are mastered even by the youngest. The four- to eight-year-olds had rehearsed dances from the Aegean and Ionian islands with their teacher Soumela Fitopoulou. The members of the middle group wore traditional costumes from different regions, they matched the choreographies from the regions of Macedonia, Thrace and from the northeast of the country.
The women showed sequences of steps from Peleponnes, central and southern Greece. The elaborately embroidered costumes and the matching caps and boots were partly purchased in the country of origin, partly copied by tailors. These works, explained Dr. Savvidis, are also financed from the proceeds of the Christmas Ball.
Order and cleanliness
After several years of rather lukewarm attendance, the date on Tempelhofer Strasse has now become established. And now, of all times, the hall can no longer be rented for the festival, reports the chairman. For 2013 he is still firmly booked, after that a magistrate’s decision takes effect, which denies Megas Alexandros the use. "We have always strived for order and cleanliness and always cleaned up accurately," the leader shows disappointment.
The feast has gained another dimension this year. "Between 200 and 400 compatriots have come to the region from Greece to take up work," the doctor describes the effects of the economic crisis. "As a result, our community has grown by about ten percent". Among the newcomers are many academics and well-qualified compatriots.
The next event in sight
On Christmas Eve, some fathers together with nine children visited Greek families in Muhlheim, Offenbach, Heusenstamm and Obertshausen. They sang the Kalanda song, which tells of the birth of Jesus Christ and wishes God’s blessing. All the students beat triangles, dr. Savvidis accompanied the group with the accordion. With the money that the happy people gave them, they want to support children in Greece who are suffering particularly from the crisis.
Megas Alexandros already has his sights set on the next major event: on Shrove Saturday, 9. February, the association celebrates its annual New Year’s celebration at the community center with the cutting of the basilopita cake.