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Excitement as Greeks mark National Day in Lagos


A cross section of nationals and guests at the event

A cross section of nationals and guests at the event

Slowly, time crept. It seemed the time wouldn’t come for the show to begin, but when it did, nobody wanted the spectacle to end. That was the Greece National Day celebrations held in Lagos last Saturday, which was opened by the Consul of the Greece Embassy in Abuja, Lykourgos-Antonios Kaplanis.

The event attracted dignitaries from all walks of life that began to assemble at the Emerald Suite of Eko Hotel in Victoria Island at about 6.30p.m., in varied colourful attire.

When the event eventually began at about 8.00p.m. with a display from a traditional orchestral comprising, Nicholas Dalianis, Aris Dinas Lefteris Galos, Georgios and Retos, it was entertainment non-stop. They sang and played guitars, violin and trumpet for the Trikki Dance Team — a group of 12 dancers from Greece.

The dance team waltzed to different rhythms, using both legs and hands in harmonious manner for more than an hour. The dance had a sequence that flowed in time, from the old to the most recent. The 12-member team danced without missing its steps or cues.

At a point, the men were separated from the women for about 15 minutes and just like a film trick, only to be united again with their female counterparts dramatically with beautiful dancing steps.

The dance, which could be compared to the Fulani dance in Nigeria, revealed a theatrical harmony that elicited a lot of emotions from the audience, especially, the Greeks. Many of them watched with nostalgia, same as those who schooled in Greece and Cyprus.

The performance got many head shaking and feet tapping the floor in harmony to the beat. Many of the Greeks were dancing with their friends where they sat. A few of the crowd also joined the dancers to sing one of the songs in Greek. The music was like a therapy to the soul. Beyond the music and dance, the costume of the dancers reflected a fusion of three heritages: Christianity, Arabic and orthodoxy.

One of the guests, Pontaziz Tsousis, said she enjoyed the dance. “It made me to remember my tradition while living in another country.”
An Italian, Deborah Zurru, said the costume of the dancers was similar to the one used for dancing where she comes from in Italy. “Even the dance is similar.”

Zurru, who likes dressing in the traditional outfit of anybody that invites her for any occasion, described the event as a good cultural exchange.

Her words: “It is good to let the people from other countries know about your tradition. It is good to keep your tradition even when living in another country. The tradition has been there from millennium and they still keep the tradition. They try to let the people in other country know it. It is good.”

Trikki dance team performing at the event

Trikki dance team performing at the event

Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nike Art Gallery Ltd, Chief Nike Okundaye, described the performance as awesome. She said, “cultural heritage is what bring all of us together. The costume was excellent. I was just so happy and honoured to be invited to something like this.

“I think Nigerians should always wear their traditional clothes when they go for an occasion like this. I know Nigerians always like their culture, but shy away because of religion. Religion is also a culture that was brought to Africa.”

One of the members of the Greek community in Lagos, Dimitris Economou, said he has been in Nigeria for three years with his family. “I try not to compare the facilities in Greece with what we have here. I miss going out for sport, because of the security issue. I like the people. I like the fact that I have my family with me.

“I miss the Mediterranean diets, the fresh fruits and the vegetable. In Greece, there are choices for you to make whenever you want to entertain yourself. You can go to a theatre, cinema, you can climb mountain. You feel free to do whatever you want.

“But here in Nigeria, it is always about work and little time for entertainment. From Victoria Island to Apapa, I have done six hours on the road, because of the traffic. No free time for me to attend to myself,” he said.

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