Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Greek Snake Day
"Situated in the village of Markopoulos, the church of the Virgin Mary Lagouvarda was built on the site where a monastery that had been destroyed by the Turks used to stand. A urban legend says that in 1705 the monastery was attacked by pirates and the frightened nuns prayed the Virgin to turn them into snakes in order to escape from the cruelty of the pirates. Their prayers were answered and, at the sight of the snakes, the pirates run away; since then, the nuns-snakes return each year to the monastery, bringing good luck and prosperity to the village. This legend explains the phenomenon that happens every August the 15th, on the Virgin Mary’s feast day: a large number of harmless snakes come around the monastery just for this day and then disappear."