Another Memorable Panygiri

Plenty of Sun and Plenty of Fun for Melbourne's Agia-paraskevotes

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Agios Haralambos truly is Agia Paraskevi's guardian angel, as clear, sunny skies reigned across Melbourne for Melbourne's Cultural Association of Agia Paraskevi "O Taxiarhis" to hold its annual feast day of Agios Haralambos (Tou Tavrou) at the premises of  Pallesviaki Enosis of Melbourne and Victoria in Bayswater.

Preparations for the Sunday's extravaganza were in full swing for several weeks, culminating in Committee members and their families working tirelessly Friday and Saturday to get everything ready. On Saturday, the Association offered members and guests a free BBQ as an appertiser for the following day's great festivity. It was on Saturday night that Anna Koundouri and other helpers created the decorative wreath for the Bull, which was funded by donations from Vasilios Psaltopoulos, Miltiades Frangoulis and Panagiotis Hatzoglou- and their respective families..


Above: Stella Karakonstanti gives Father Doukas a sip of Mytilenina ouzo. Mihalis Koulikas is in the background.

Above Right: Stella Karakonstanti and Kostas Alepidis hold the icon of Agios Haralambos and lead the procession.

Sunday's panygiri began with Father Doukas- who is from Lesvos' village, Kapi- giving a liturgy which was followed by the entrance of the Bull- decorated by wreaths and flowers- and accompanying musicians. Father Doukas' blessing of the bull was followed by the procession of decorated horses- with their riders. The procession continued with the Association's banner and Agios Haralambos' icon. 

This years's first prize for horsemanship went to Andonios Behlevanas.  And the traditional koulbani was prepared by Konstantina Zahari.


Above: Efstratios Karakonstantis (right) congratulates the winner of the best rider at the Panygiri, Andonios Behlevanas.

Above Right: Efstratios Karakonstantis and his beautifully decorated horse.  

Taxiarhi's President, Christos Klidaras, was beaming with joy, seeing everyone having such an enjoyable time, "Not only did everyone have a great time, but so many people expressed their admiration for our Panygiri's richness and importance. They also emphasised we should not allow this Panygiri to be abandoned in the future, and this support greatly encourages us to continue our tradition."

" I would also like to thank all our sponsors, especially- Tyrnapos Imports, Bank of Cyprus and Peter Behlevanas- as well as all members and friends who donated gifts for Saturday night's auction," he continued.  

Master of Ceremonies for the day was Ignatios Georgalas, who also did a fine job.

All photographs courtesy of Efstratios Karakonstantis