I was in my village in North Euboea, waiting for my mother to go to church to help in the decoration of St. Lucas icon.
She walked around the neighborhood to collect flowers from various houses' gardens. She would use those flowers to decorate the icon. When she came to find me she had 2 bags full of different kind of flowers. She took the keys of the church and off we went.
When we arrived at the church, she started decorating the icon with the help of another woman, they had to have it prepared for the night litany. It did not take too long so we had the time to return home and prepare ourselves as well.
When we arrived, the whole village had already gathered in the church. After a while, the litany started. All houses were lit and the landlords greeted the icon with candles and incenses filling the air with fragrances.
After the litany passed from almost all village's houses, it ended at the church. Some men held the icon up in the air in order for the believers to pass under the icon and receive the blessing.
After the end of the litany, most people went to the village's stores where there was plenty of food, drink and live music. During the days of St. Lucas, you can see even the most unsociable people going out and having fun.
I returned home early that night although my friends were expecting me for a late drink, I had to wake up the next day very early in the morning, at about 5:00.
The next morning, my mother awoke me and we went to the church which was already open with other women waiting there. At 6:00 sharp, some women took the icon and we left for the St. Lucas' chapel that is situated at the coast of the village, about 4 km away.
We were walking for some hour in the dark, the sun had not risen yet. When a car passed by, we were signaling with torches and I was using the LED to light up the women's group to avoid any accident. The icon changed hands all the time, everybody wanted to keep it even for a while.
The dawn broke just before our arrival at the chapel. There was fog and the landscape with the pine wood from one side and the the plane was very atmospheric and mystic. Along a big part of the route, we were walking along the river and plane trees.
When we arrived at the St. Lucas' chapel I bent to get in since the door is too small. There used to be an ancient temple at this very spot.
The ceremony started. Some people stayed inside to attend. I went out and sat by the chapel where some women had already started making coffee.
I drunk coffee with them and heard many interesting stories about the celebration and the place.
The ceremony ended at about 11:00. A group of women again took the icon and headed for the village on foot.
A delicious lunch and a warm bed was the perfect "reward" back home.