ALKIONIDES DAYS IN GREECE

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A few days ago, when it was still snowing in Athens, I told to one of our student, Theoni, who had come from sunny Australia, that after 2-3 days the weather will become better, as it did happen.

My forecast was secure, as since thousands of years the promise of Zeus to Alkiones (those small beautiful seabirds) proves true every January.

We present to you the myth.

“Alkionides meres (alkionides days) are called the 14 days in the middle of January (approximately from 8 till 20), during which the weather is great and sunny.  Aristotle referred to this phenomenon in detail in his book about the History of Animals. (Περί τα ζώα ιστοριών).

These days were named («αλκυόνιαι») after the myth of the Greek mythology regarding the seabird Alkioni (Αλκυών), whose name was the same with the star Alkioni of the Pleiades.

According to the myth, Alkioni was the daughter of Aiolos and wife of Kyika, king of Trahina. Kyikas was drowned and Alkioni was mourning by the sea. So Zeus turned her into a bird and also her husband in order to be together. These good days were offered to this bird so that it can give birth to its eggs.

There is also a reference of the mourning of Alkioni for her husband in Homer’s Ilias (Rapsody I), as well as in the works of Apollodoros, Theocritus, Plutarch, Lucian etc.

Regardless of whether  the myth is true, it is a fact that during this time period the weather in Greece gets better, so Alkiones birds can give birth peacefully to their eggs and humans enjoy the good weather in the middle of winter.

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