Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece

My life is returning to normal and I figured it was time to start our fairy tales back up!! Today we are sharing a version of Cinderella from Greece. This is a wonderful story to share, but first a bit about Greece.

Source: By NuclearVacuum [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Officially Greece is the Hellenic Republic and was known since ancient times as Hellas. Greece is in Southern Europe and its capital and largest city is Athens. Greece is a democratic, developed country. The population of Greece is 11 million according to a 2011 census. Greece has its roots in Ancient Greece and thus is known as the birthplace of democracy, the Olympic Games, as well as significant science and mathematical theories and Western drama including tragedy and comedy. Greece features a vast number of islands with 227 of them inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece contains mountains or hills making Greece one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Greece has a Mediterranean climate with wet, cool winters and hot, dry summers. (Source)

The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony Manna and Christodoula Mitakidou is a wonderful Cinderella tale, however you do not learn much about the Greek culture by reading it. The only thing I learned about Greece is that when you lose a mother you are considered an orphan in Greece. The story begins with loving parents and their daughter. The mother caters to the daughter's every need. Then suddenly she dies and the girl becomes an orphan in Greek terms. The father remarries a woman with two daughters. The woman is mean to the orphan and even counts the drops of water she is allowed to drink. The mother spoils her own daughters and they are mean to the orphan as well. One day the orphan goes to her mother's grave crying and complaining about the stepmother and sisters. The mother's grave trembles and her voice is heard telling the daughter to go home and wait for her good fortune. The next morning when the orphan goes to do her chores, Mother Nature presents her with many gifts. She receives a wreath of the evening star, shoes from the ocean and dresses from the meadows as well as beauty and grace. She takes her gifts and hides them in a trunk. That Sunday, the prince decides to attend church at their local village church. The stepmother demands the father to have three dresses made for her daughters and herself to wear to church that week then asks for jewels for them all as well. She demands the orphan to do her daughters' hair in the latest style (high updos). Then they parade through the streets like royalty to church. 

The orphan bathes and cares for herself as her mother once did and then dresses in her gifts and she finds many gold coins in the bottom of the trunk. Instantly she shines like the sun and is as beautiful as the moon. She takes some of the gold coins with her. When she goes outside and reaches up a cloud becomes a white mare. She rides to the church and hears her mother's voice on the way telling her to return home as soon as the service ends or all is lost. She turns everyone's head as she enters the church. The prince is mesmerized by her. When the priest says the final "Amen" she leaves. The prince asks his guards to catch her and bring her to him. She throws the gold coins into the crowd and escapes. The prince inconsolable that week, but decides to return the following Sunday and tells his guards to have the beekeepers prepare some honey and wax for them to put on the step when the service is about to end.

The morning goes the same and the orphan gets stuck in the honey and wax. She struggles and frees herself, but loses one of her tiny shoes. Again she throws gold coins in the crowd and loses the guards. The prince decrees that all the maidens of the village must come to the palace to try on the shoe. The stepsisters fret over what to wear and finally on the third day decide and they leave. The girl again dresses in her special way and this time takes the jewels her father bought for the stepmother and stepsisters for the first visit of the prince. As soon as she enters the palace the prince is mesmerized again and gets up to have her try on the shoe and of course it fits. She takes the jewels over to her stepmother and stepsisters and they realize who she is and how awful they have treated her and run away. The prince and orphan are married a few days later.

In this version, I love how the magic come from Mother Nature. It reminds me of the star dress in The Salmon Princess.  It also reminds me a bit of the Irish version, Fair, Brown and Trembling with the coins and mare. It is a lovely version and we truly enjoyed it.

Trinity Snowman & January Happenings

Today I am going to share with you a wonderful way to teach the Trinity to children and what will be happening this month here at Crafty Moms Share. First our lesson. I found on Proverbial Homemaker, Art Day Trinity Snowman Project on Pinterest. Her post led me to Hope Is Where the Heart Is to get the printable, Trinity Snowman. The printable is available for free at that link.
It is a lovely description of how the bottom ball of a snowman is the Father--the rock foundation, the middle ball is the Son with open arms and the head is the Holy Spirit--our counselor and friend. I think I like this explanation better than the apple one we read about and did a craft with in the fall.

The obvious project to go with this printable is a snowman craft. We went out to dinner tonight, but I prepared ahead of time by cutting out the three circles and gathering some supplies for Hazel to make a snowman. It entertained her until the food came. For other snowman ideas check out the features at this week's Sharing Saturday, our past snowman crafts and activities and our Winter Pinterest Board.

This month's author for Virtual Book Club for Kids is Laura Numeroff. She is best known for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but has a variety of books on all sorts of subjects. We will be sharing our chosen book and activity on January 13th.

Then on January 21st we will be "visiting" Peru with Around the World in 12 Dishes. We did a little exploration of Peru previously when we reviewed Daria's A Child's Life in the Andes. I am really excited to try the dish Daria suggested for us as well as a fun musical instrument craft I found. We will be posting our official dish on the 21st!! So join us then!!

I have been toying with the idea of running a Valentine swap again. Would you be interested in participating or having your child/ren participate? It would mean making some homemade Valentines and mailing them worldwide and then receiving some from all over the world. If you are interested, let me know. If there is interest I will put it together. 

That is what January brings! I hope you will join us for all the fun!

Sharing Saturday 14-1

Wow, did you have a chance to check out the amazing ideas shared over the last two weeks? Last week I had a few features and I have some this week as well. There are some great ideas for Christmas, New Year's and every day as well as some round-ups of 2013 bests. The most clicked is from Afterschool for Smarty Pants: 6 Ways to Prepare for New Year with Children.

Flamingo Birthday Party

We finally had our flamingo birthday party!! Hazel is now officially five! It was a blast even though she now has her second ear infection since Christmas and is on her second round of antibiotics. Yes, it has been a tough Christmas break. But onto our happy time! A few weeks ago, I shared our printed invitation as well as some of the terrific products we reviewed from Oriental Trading.

Happy New Year!

I know I promised to keep posting and somehow between Hazel and I being sick (Hazel still is) and Hazel's birthday party, I feel like every time I sit down to write I just want to go to sleep and I didn't want to write a bad post, so I waited. So this is a bit late, but I thought I would share about New Year's Eve and Day with you. How did you celebrate? Did you celebrate?

Did you know there are different times of the year that people in the world celebrate New Years? Hazel and I took some books out from the library to let her know more about New Year's and I have learned so much reading them. The first one is Happy New Year! by Emery Bernhard. This book gives a bit of history of New Year's and how it has been celebrated throughout the times. It also goes into the ways different cultures have and some still do celebrate it and when. It even discusses the change of the calendar to make January 1st the new year introduced by Julius Caesar. (This is the reason on months do not match their prefixes by the way.) Caesar changed the beginning of the year to January instead of March. By the way if you are in Rome on New Year's Eve, watch out for dropping crockery. Their tradition is to throw their cracked or chipped crockery out the window at midnight. Noise-making was originally meant to scare away evil spirits. In Bali it still is. On New Year's do you celebrate the new year or say goodbye to the old one? Each culture seems to differ on this as well. 

The other books we took out (so far) are craft books. We have Holiday Handiwork by Gillian Souter. For New Year's it has a noise-maker craft as well as a dancing dragon for the Chinese New Year. By the way the Chinese New Year and other lunar new years (like  Vietnamese and Korean) will be January 31st this year. This year the Tibetan New Year is March 2nd; the Persian New Year is March 21st; the Hindu New Year is March 31st; the Hmong New Year is April 12th; and the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is September 25th. (Source of dates)
Our third book is Happy New Year, Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach. This book shares information about the new year in twenty different countries as well as a craft/project to do from that country. This book is wonderful for teaching about different cultures! And the activities look so fun!

This year is the first year we actually "celebrated" New Year's Eve with Hazel. We went to our local library. They had some crafts and a countdown to noon. Then they played fireworks on a large screen television and had the kids jump on bubble wrap (it sounded like fireworks). Then they served sparkling cider and fish crackers. Hazel had so much fun. Oh, and the librarians had a balloon drop at noon for the kids too. Each child could make three crafts. The first was a New Year's crown. They used some Grinch crowns they had.
Then they had an egg shaker with plastic Easter eggs, popcorn kernels, decorative tape and stickers. Every child needed one to shake at noon!

The final craft was a homemade kazoo. It is made with a toilet paper roll, tissue paper, rubber band and a hole punch. Punching the hole is key to it working.
Hazel had so much fun!! She did not want to leave. Luckily we were headed out for a nice lunch with her grandmother at Hazel's favorite restaurant so we got her out of there.

And to make it even more interesting for you here are a few fun New Year's traditions I found on-line:
  • In the Netherlands, they burn their Christmas trees in bonfires to get rid of the old and welcome the new. They also have fireworks.
  • In Spain they eat twelve grapes at midnight to secure twelve months of happiness.
  • In Japan they host "forget-the-year" parties in December and then on New Year's Eve the buddhist priests 108 times to expel the 108 human weaknesses. 
  • In Brazil it is customary to wear all white except also brightly colored underwear. It is customary in Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela to wear brightly colored underwear. Yellow is supposed to bring money and red brings love.
  • In Chile, they eat a spoonful of lentils at midnight to have a year of work and money.
  • In South Africa, they throw old appliances out their windows.

Now I would love to hear your family's traditions.