The first custom to take place with the New Year in Greece is called “podariko,” which equals to what the Northern British and the Scottish call “first foot”. According to tradition, it is believed that the first person to enter the house on New Year’s Eve brings either good luck or bad luck.
Unless you were rich, a business executive, a celebrity, or among the few privileged elite who run the country and for whom every year is a banner year of profiteering, 2011 was the worst year for most Greeks since the American-backed junta of repressive Right-Wing Colonels fell in 1974.
Four years of recession and more than 18 months of pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and coming layoffs by the thousands are taking their toll in a deadly way as the rate of increase in suicides in Greece is the highest in Europe, according to a report released at a seminar at the Athens Economic University.
Chicago’s new National Hellenic Museum, the first of its kind in the United States, is officially opened to the public. The stunning 40,000 square foot facility was unveiled on December 8 with a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, State Representative Derrick Smith (D-10th) and 27th ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. joined Ioanna Efthymiadou, Consul General of Greece, members of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, the board of directors, staff and supporters for the occasion. FULL STORY