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Winter Stories: “Love & Punishment”.

Alkyoni & Kyikas


Alkyoni (Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis atthis) is mainly known as a beautiful seabird which dwells on the rocks and lays its eggs in the middle of the winter.
At this period of the year – from January 20 to February 10 – the weather usually becomes better and these days in Greece are known as “Alkyonides” (Halcyon days). Meteorologists give their own scientific explanation for this phenomenon, but most people seem to prefer a romantic myth which gives another explanation.

Alkyoni is referred to in mythology as a beautiful woman, married with Kyikas. The two young people were very much in love and they called themselves “Zeus” and “Hera,” which of course annoyed the “kings of the gods” very much. That’s why Zeus punished Kiikas by crashing his boat into the stormy sea. Alkioni learned the horrible fortune of her husband in a dream with the help of god Morpheus. After that, she wanted to end her life the same way, throwing herself in the wild sea. There, the gods showed their generosity and they transformed her into a bird, so that she could fly everywhere and look for her beloved husband.

“Alkyonides”: From matrimonial love to barometric pressures ….

If you prefer however the scientific explanation, meteorologists believe that the phenomenon of the warm days is due to the high barometric pressure in the latitude of Greece up to that of North-Eastern Europe, which causes very little wind and lots of sunshine). It is something which happens often but certainly not always.

Now you can choose which one of the two versions you like the most!

                                           © Lato,
Het Griekse Taal– & CultuurCentrum van Amsterdam

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