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As painted as an Easter egg, or, what is the line between beauty and kitsch?

12 April 2012 / 23:04:25  GRReporter
3018 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

If you visit Greece around Easter, you cannot help but notice the hundreds of decorated candles offered in shops ... More precisely, in almost all shops and even in the street. Round, square, aromatic and not, white, pink, red, yellow, green and blue, decorated with anything you can think of and even with a small gift attached to them, not only for children.

Let us take Athens, for example. Even the street near Thisseio, that usually brings together street artists and ordinary traders of unimpressive counterfeit jewellery, could not escape the holiday spirit. Maria, a former designer and a street artist at present, was offering hand painted candles at a lower price. She said that she could sell them more easily there than if she had given them to a trader. Her works of art shone out amongst the other, quite elaborate and tasteless items, which a woman was selling while knitting something and speaking angrily to her stall neighbour. Of course, she did not allow us to film them, although it was quite obvious that she was just selling them.

The candle, although decorated, is still associated with the Easter holiday. No matter what it looks like, it will inevitably burn on the festive night of the Resurrection.

"Tourists are mostly looking at them, and some are even buying them," said Nikos, who owns a souvenir shop in the Plaka neighbourhood at the foot of the Acropolis. He offers a large assortment from the most stylish to the somewhat more elaborate candles, but as he complained, "There are no customers for them. People are buying even less than last year."

But even if you do not want to buy a candle, you can surely choose something from the wide variety of eggs. Hand painted ceramic and fine copies of the traditional technique of the Greek island of Rhodes, can be found in the shop at the Museum of folk art in the Monastiraki district.

The nice sellers will tell you the whole story, which can make you feel better when you open your wallet to pay 25 euro for one of them. Small knitted chickens, rabbits and hens are cute but you would hardly decorate your house with any of them.

Well, silver eggs in jewellery shops that I had never noticed until today are impressive at least. They are in different sizes, some are gold-plated and you can choose from biblical scenes and religious motives to copies of the masks found in the excavations near Mycenae. I liked the egg best, the decoration of which is reminiscent of a network and resembles the "navel of the world" in the museum at Delphi. But if it seems too modest, you can chose one of the gold inlaid red eggs, decorated in the manner of jeweller Faberge.

If you have not much money left after going shopping, then you can choose an onyx egg. According to the beliefs, it is the stone of fighters and stubborn people. It gives power to the "head to break through a wall." It is recommended for pedants, people with scruples and purposeful people. Even if you do not believe that it can bring you such capabilities, you will surely not lose much given that the price of the largest-sized egg is 4.50 euro. Next to them, as "poor relatives," there are tastelessly decorated wooden eggs placed in a plastic bowl. They do not draw the customers' interest despite their modest price of 2 euro.

The adjacent gift shop is a "paradise" for fans of Easter decorations. Eggs and chickens in all colours, patterns and sizes "compete" with candles, rabbits and lambs.

Things are quite different near the central market. The aesthetics of the candles sold for 2 euro are striking, but the highest number of potential buyers is right around them. These are times of crisis now. It is better to buy such a candle instead of a simple one so that the children do not frown.

Of course, if none of the above-mentioned Easter "souvenirs" has impressed you, you should not worry. You can always buy a great big chocolate egg to enjoy. Your joy will certainly will not last long, but it is the best surprise for the younger members of your family.


Tags: SocietyEasterCandleSouvenirsDecoration
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