Written by Heidi Blythe and Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)
Photos by Rachel Blythe, Thuy Nguyen, and Naomi Seng (Class of 2022)
Video by Naomi Seng (Class of 2022)
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything.”Plato
A lively tempo fills the air as all students from DVGS come together on a sunny afternoon to enjoy and delight in a celebration of Greek culture, all of them dressed up beautifully in flowing robes, floral headdresses and creative designs imitating Ancient Greek garments. Swaying to and fro with the beat of the bouzouki (a guitar-like instrument of Greek origin), the students chattered and laughed, sung and danced as the music and rhythm found their way into the secret places of their souls, dying the color of their thoughts bright and radiant.
It all started one fine afternoon when the 11th and 12th graders were reading two Greek plays, Medea by Euripides and Antigone by Sophocles, during their weekly English Literature classes. The class was suddenly thrust into a world of gods and myths, kings and heroes, all encompassed within the alluring world of Ancient Greece.
Eager to know more about modern and ancient Greek culture, as well as to honor the Greek playwrights they learned about, the juniors and seniors organized multiple presentations and designated a day of Greek fun to share the culture’s richness with the rest of the school. To immerse the school in Greek heritage, the English class separated into groups and each took charge of a specific topic. Throughout several weeks, they shared snippets of Greek life such as history, attire, food, dance, and music.
Greek Day was officially held on September 29th, and students were encouraged to dress up as Greek civilians, gods, and goddesses, using materials from home to model the light tunics worn by the Greek people. Using their imagination, many styled themselves impressively with just the sheets taken from their bed. It was as though the Olympian gods and goddesses themselves attended.
Highlights of the event consisted of a rhythmic dance called the “Zorba” that was taught by Ms. Farley. Students formed two circles, one enclosing the other, and spun around in Greek dance, the sirtaki. “Dancing was a lot of fun, all of us moving in synchrony and feeling that collective energy, it was really exhilarating. The pandemic has resulted in a lot of social stratification and disconnect but it really felt like we came together as a community through movement,” said Kaitlin Harness (Class of 2022) when asked about her experience with the Zorba.
Delicious traditional food such as hummus and tzatziki-filled (cucumber yogurt sauce) pita bread was prepared by the food team. A vibrant photo booth of characters from the plays covered in English class was also made and many people took lots of wonderful pictures filled with smiles, laughs, and joy.
Through this cultural celebration, the students opened their eyes to new things that taught them the importance of togetherness, family, and friends. Though Ancient Greek culture is noted for its government, art, architecture, philosophy, and sports, all of which are admired and adopted by many countries around the world, Greek lifestyle itself is very strongly centered around family and philótimo, a Greek word meaning the ability to do something for someone above and beyond what is dictated by feelings or professional obligations. It is no wonder that this celebration as a whole brought the students a serene sense of belonging and release.
“I want to do it again! The seniors and juniors did a great job preparing all of this and Greek culture is absolutely fascinating. I hope the school will host another event like this,” said Kirsten Chen (Class of 2025) as the festivities drew to a close.
Special thanks to Jin Jr Shr for making the event possible, as well as Ms. Farley for teaching us the thrilling Zorba dance!
Categories: Global Awareness