The Greek Spirit Today
Cargese is a Maniot village that everywhere, on Corsica, in
France, in the whole world is always called Greek Cargese!
Every publication of local tourist company, of any local
office and society bears a sign: "Cargese la Grecque"!
The main occupation of villagers, local Corsicans as well as
Maniot descendants, is tourism. They try hard to increase not only the number of
tourists, but to reach the highest possible level of tourism. They try to
achieve this by a good technical support, a well organised sanitary service,
politeness, hospitality and restrained but sincere smiles.
The names of hotels and restaurants are characteristically
Greek: Residence Ellada, Motel Ta Kladia, Residence DíItylon, Hotel-Motel
Helios, Residence Maina, Hotel-Restaurant Thalassa, etc.
Just imagine, 800 people and their descendants who now live
in a far away place in a hostile surrounding could manage to keep their Greek
spirit and strongly impose their presence everywhere around. The present Greek
tourists who visit Cargese with big excitement and pride walk along the streets
that bear Greek names: Greece (Rue de Greece), Mani (Rue de Magne), Itylos (Rue
The descendants of the first colonists stick to their Maniot
names: Stefanopoulos, Trimigokis, Tzanetakis, Drakakis, Volimakis, Koritis,
Vlahodimakis, Koronas, Kotsifakis, Papadakis, Mavroidakis, etc.
Quite a number of Maniots try to study and speak Greek.
Unfortunatelly only few old women still remember and use the Maniot idioms that
they have learned from their great-grandfathers. Without close and constant
contacts with Greece in general and Mani in particular gradually these idioms
would be completely forgotten.
It is very remarkable that the descendants of the first
Maniot colonists managed to keep their Greek spirit, to stay proud of their
Greek origin and to believe that Greek blood flows in their veins.
Isnít it exciting that the services in the local cathedral
of St. Spiridonas are held in Greek!! The religious holidays follow the
ceremonies including those of baptizing, wedding and burial.
Greek Cargese occupies a steady position and sticks to the
traditions of their ancestors. It is especially important nowadays when an
impersonal Western culture threatens to equalize everything and everyone in this
world. We who live in Greece should strengthen our contacts with this remote
Greek place for the sake of preserving our Greek consciousness and presence, and
our Greek nation, in general.
Mani", Summer 1997, Article on the Corsican Maniots.
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