The Taste of Greece

The Taste of Greece, an annual tradition

 celebrating Greek food and culture,

traditions and family fun.

 

In Ancient Greece, "Festival" meant "yiorti", a celebration in which Greeks would gather to celebrate either a feast day or a remarkable event for their town or nation- state.  The tradition continued into modern times mostly centered around Christian holidays or saint’s days within the Church. Whether festivals occurred in remote villages, suburban areas of larger cities or on a distant Greek island, the Greeks gathered to socialize, celebrate and enjoy themselves not at home, but in their favorite cafes, tavernas, and the Church square where their festival was held.  Family and friends would be seen during the festival enjoying the variety of food, wines, coffee and desserts.  In this way, food and entertainment are a very significant element of Greek culture. 

Each year, The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Luke is transformed into a traditional Greek festival with The Taste of Greece. Occurring the third weekend of October, we celebrate our patron Saint Luke’s name day.  Our community becomes the center of the authentic Greek spirit and offers the epicurean delight to all its neighbors and guests. We offer an authentic variety of Greek food, pastries and desserts prepared by our own parishioners, who inherited the high standard of cooking and baking from their own family members. We celebrate family and community with the spirit of all working together for a common purpose. We embrace our neighbors with offering traditional entertainment in the form of live music and folk dancing exhibition, shopping and cooking demonstrations.

The Taste of Greece has a long tradition at St. Luke’s. More than 30 years ago, a large group of Springfield area residents had the dream of starting a new Greek Orthodox parish in East Longmeadow. A chapel and grounds were rented in Wilbraham and an annual three-day festival was held to raise funds for the building of a brand new church. Once settled in East Longmeadow, the parish shifted their community outreach from a festival to an annual Holiday Bazaar, offering both Greek and local crafts for sale. After many years, it was apparent that the home-baked traditional Greek pastries and breads were the biggest sellers at the Bazaar and many guests would request more in the way of Greek foods. The Taste of Greece was re-born out of a desire to reconnect with our Springfield area neighbors and also to bring our Church community together in fellowship and the spirit of working together for a common goal.

Preparations for annual October event start in June. Baking workshops to prepare all of the cookies, pastries, and breads occur all throughout the summer. Cooking workshops to prepare the trays and trays of a la carte items such as spanakopita, pastitsio, moussaka, and dolmades are held daily throughout the early fall. The St. Luke Greek Dancers practice each week all year-long, learning new folk dances and including new members. Shopping for and creating the traditional gifts for the Agora, or gift shop, happens all year-round. The three-day event in October sees almost all of St. Luke’s parishioners volunteering in some way. The Taste of Greece is an endeavor of love and a treasure of time and talent from all who are involved. In keeping with the ancient Greek tradition of gathering to rejoice, the St. Luke parishioners open their doors to the public to celebrate all that is Greek.