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Sayings and Proverbs

Culture > Sayings and Proverbs > Muvri Ksenitia - the Black Night

Culture > Sayings and Proverbs

submitted by George Poulos on 27.04.2004

Muvri Ksenitia - the Black Night

Muvri Ksenitia - is a phrase that has more recently been bought to the attention of Hellenes world-wide by Harry Feros.

Harry's father, Nikolaos, arrived from Kythera in 1921. [From the name Feros - my guess is that he was born and raised in Mitata.]

Born in Toowoomba, Queensland, in 1946, Harry first journeyed to the island of his father's birth in 1986. He initially spent four months, and 'felt a sense of belonging'. He has since purchased a traditional house in Karavas, and is busy with its reconstruction. Harry spends periods of time in both Greece and Australia.

A picture of Harry, fixing the underside of the roof of his house in Karavas, can be seen on page 25 of Images of Home. Muvri Ksenitia; by Effy Alexakis & Leonard Janiszewski; Hale and Iremonger P/L, 1995.

"In terms of people identifying with Australia I think one of the classic expressions is muvri ksenitia - which is sort of like a black situation of a night time which is everywhere else in the world except Greece. So to see it in those terms, was that having left Greece, they were in this black night and it was a matter of time till they came back to Greece again. The term mavri ksenitia you often hear in songs.....the American songs and the Australian songs of the migrants, that one day they'll get out of this black foreign place and come back to Greece".

I am not convinced that the sense of muvri ksenitia is as universal a feeling amongst Greeks and Kytherians as is implied in Images of Home. My father, and many of his family, friends and associates, tend to consider Australia, in particular, as the "uvli tis paradisios" - the Garden of Eden.

My guess is that, amongst Kytherians - the sense of muvri ksenitia is the psychological experience of the minority - rather than the majority.

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