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The Rock of the Ikarian Man

Dear friend of Ikaria, Have you ever heard about "The Rock of the Ikarian Man"? It is a famous story that really happened on the island of Evia. But before telling you the story, I need to explain a little more about "the old times" in Ikaria. Ikaria has always been a difficult island for its inhabitants: remote (far away from the Greek main land), harsh and wild (mountain life and the strong winds). Nowadays we have modern luxuries and techniques to make life a little easier, but especially in earlier times, Ikaria was an extremely difficult place to survive. One of the main reasons was the lack of agricultural production: the amount of produce wasn't enough to meet the needs of the Ikarians. As a result, most of the men were obliged to work at sea or on other islands or even in other countries. Early 20th century, a lot of Ikarians worked as miners* (making charcoal). And that’s where our story happened: Once upon a time (around 1930 in Evia), a company of Ikarian men were making charcoal. One evening they went to a coffee shop for a drink but they were regarded as ‘poor’ and they weren't welcome. They had to stand outside the coffee shop because there were "no chairs available". When they asked for chairs and a drink they were told: ‘If you find any chairs, sit down and I'll serve you.’ One of the Ikarian men replied: ‘Okay, I will bring you my chair!’ and he went out and came back with a huge rock, that a man of normal strength would never have been able to pick up, let alone move from its place. He planted the rock in the middle of the coffee shop, saying: ‘Here’s one chair for all of you! Sit down, my fellow men, and enjoy your drinks.’ The owner of the coffee shop kept that rock inside his shop for many years after this event. And the ‘chair’ in the middle got famous as ‘the Rock of the Ikarian man’. *The miners usually went to Evia, Crete and the Peloponesos. They would leave every year in April, only to return at the end of the season, in October. They would leave Ikaria in big companies, with one man in charge, and they would share all the profit made during the mining season. The women stayed behind to take care of the children and to run daily life on the island: school, shops, garden … The regular absence of men is one of the main reasons of gender equality in Ikaria.

Hope you enjoyed the content ...

Mazari G. Eleni


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