As in every country and season, there are natural phenomena. A Greek winter can be cold and in the mountainous areas, it always snows. However, every year there are also some very warm days with a lot of sunshine. They are called the « Halcyon days » or « Alkionides Meres ». Unfortunately, we never know on which days exactly those calm bright days will come. Usually, it is the period after Christmas until the end of January when there is a non-interrupted period of days with clear blue skies and warm temperatures, which at least in the Athens region can reach more than 20°C during day-time.
Those natural phenomena are difficult to explain, but here is how it was explained in Greek Mythology! The myth of Alcyone, is a tender story of love and commitment, which explains the Halcyon sunny days of calm seas and winds.
Halcyon, is a name originally derived from “Alcyone” in Greek mythology, and is a type of Kingfisher bird that nests by the sea where sea-charming winds blow, so that its eggs are protected during the nesting period.
The Myth of Halcyon:
Halcyon (Alcyone in Greek) was the daughter of Aeolus, the God of the Winds. Halcyon was married to the mortal king Ceyx and they lived by the sea. Ceyx drowned in a huge storm despite the warnings of Halcyon. Poseidon (the God of the Sea) brought his body to his wife’s arms. Halcyon was desperate and threw herself into the dark waves.
Amazed by her love and devotion, the gods decided to save her and to transform her into a seabird. They also turned Ceyx into another kingfisher so the two could live and be together. Halcyon would lay her eggs only in winter. Having her nest near the shore, close by the spot where she found the body of Ceyx, the stormy waves kept sweeping away her eggs. Therefore Zeus decided to give her some days of good and calm weather in the middle of winter: so these are the Halcyon days.
Whether this myth is true or false, it is a fact that during the wintertime Greece gets better weather for a time period, so Alkiones birds can lay their eggs peacefully and at the same time Greeks, as well as tourists, enjoy the sunny weather in the middle of winter.
PS. The beautiful photo was taken in Nafplion, and sent to us by an Omilo Student, Ms. Sacher.
Interested in Greek mythology?
Then here is another article you might like.: Nemea – wine/history/mythology
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