Greece welcomes 2021 like all other nations across the world, with its citizens hoping beyond hope that the new year will be a much better one in nearly every way than 2020.
After the economic and social upheaval of the last year, or more accurately since March, when the coronavirus pandemic began to rage across Europe and the world in earnest, shutting down businesses and instilling dread in the populace, this year has felt like one body blow after another.
But all the slings and arrows thrown at the world during 2020 caused most people to look at our lives more critically, perhaps in an attempt to find what it was in our lives that meant the most to us so that we could cling to them.
Many feel that the bedrock elements of our lives — our families, homes, faith, and others that are closest to us — have become much more appreciated and cherished this past year. The pandemic, for all its horrors, ultimately forced us to take stock of what is most important in life.
And most importantly, perhaps the deep appreciation for these people and things that has formed in us this year won’t be fleeting and temporary.
Christmas 2020 more peaceful and serene
From all accounts, this past Christmas was a much more relaxed one than any of us had experienced before. We usually think of Christmas as being a family-centered holiday, but this year that was more true than ever, with curfews across Greece forcing all of us together in our homes, spending the holiday with those who mean the most to us in the world.
No running around from party to party. No rushing to perform in, or attend, the many lovely musical concerts which normally mark the holiday. And much less frantic shopping for more gifts — that few of us really need. Additionally, the privations that many endured this year gave the more fortunate the opportunity to give to others in a spirit of charity.
The distance from loved ones, illness, and more time spent at home have all caused the world to reflect on the things that matter the most in life.
Our worlds become smaller, more focused
For the Greek people, family has always been one of the most, if not the most, important of all the things that are cherished in life. And while we are separated from loved ones, the technology that was thankfully available to us this year allowed us to keep that vital connection alive through video calling and the like.
Our worlds have become smaller this past year — but is that a bad thing? Perhaps we actually needed this great reset. Being forced to focus on the vital people and things in our lives has turned out to be a much-needed exercise, and maybe one that will prove to be life-long.
The new year will again prompt us to focus on all that has happened during 2020 and make us thankful — as we never have been before — to be alive, to be able to cherish the bonds we have, to be grateful for the vaccines we now have, and to look forward — also as we never have before — to something better, to a time when we will be free of the fetters and restrictions of this year.
Greece’s 2021 New Year’s holiday is opportunity for taking stock, finding the good
Now again, for just one more major holiday, Greeks are urged to be careful and stay at home with their loved ones. Plans for the coming days, laying out the strict observance of the measures for the control of the pandemic during New Year’s Eve and Day, was discussed in a government teleconference that took place in Athens this morning, with the participation of top ministers and government officials.
For the most part, the New Year holiday tonight and tomorrow, the great feast day of St. Basil, will look basically like Christmas, with a traffic ban and curfew still being in force.
Strict controls will be carried out at every level by the authorities in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through synchronized operations, with police on foot patrol in cities, especially around the midnight hour tonight.
All Athens buses and trolleys will stop service after 10:00 PM on New Year’s Eve, while the metro and tram lines will stop operations at 11 PM tonight.
The public can find out the last stop times for the buses, trolleys and the Express buses to the airport on Thursday by calling the OASA Athens urban transport organization’s phone line, 11185.
The normal Sunday and holiday bus schedules will apply for buses and trolleys in Athens on January 1, and 2 and on January 6, Epiphany.
During the teleconference, it was emphasized that a phenomenon has been observed that some people — using various excuses — have gone on vacation to various destinations during this lockdown. To this end, authorities will be on alert at the country’s gates and to enforce, without exceptions, all the protocols and restrictive quarantine measures in force now.
Greece is starting off 2021 on the good foot
After all the Greek people have been through this year, putting up with endless restrictions and changing the way we go about living our lives, New Year’s 2020 looks like it will be again spent for the most part with family, taking stock of everything that we have to be thankful for, and finding the good in our lives after the end of an extraordinarily difficult year.
So go ahead and smash that pomegranate at your own threshold on New Year’s Day! Just remain at home this holiday, celebrating in a bit quieter way than usual. It seems like very little to ask that we remain safe for a little while longer, making sure that we start the new year on the good foot, in the hope and belief that 2021 will be the bright new beginning we all need.