Athens News Agency – Macedonian Press Prints Story on Love your Yiayia and Papou Photo Contest
The photo contest Love your Yiayia and Pappou reflects the special bond of Greeks with their grandma and grandpa.
February 4, 2014
For most of us grandma and grandpa are closely connected with our tender youthful memories. Whether we see them often, if they live close-by, or only during our summer vacation at the village, they nonetheless constitute a “piece” of our life and help shape our personality.
This special bond of the Greeks with their grandpa and grandma is reflected in the photo contest “Love your yiayia and pappou,” co-organized by two groups anchored in the city of Philadelphia: the Greek-diaspora electronic media network “Cosmos Philly” and the local “Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia.”
The contest was open to all persons of Greek descent, who could submit a recent or older picture of their grandparents, along with a brief text describing the bond they developed or the moment captured by the lens.
As Lefteri Konstans, member of GAHSP’s Board and co-owner of Cosmos Philly, pointed out to the Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency, their grandparents’ stories helped those who took part in the contest learn more about their heritage and gave them the impetus to transmit this precious knowledge to the next generation.
He expressed satisfaction for the reception of the contest by the public. He emphasized that “the photos were personal, funny, moving, and some very artistic.” Those who commented on the photos in the social media stressed how much they missed their grandparents and the significant role they played in the development of their personality.
“The Greek Americans seem to have a better sense of their “Greekness,” knowing that their grandpa and grandma are alive in their motherland. Like myself, they feel rooted, they want to be near them, and they help them better understand the simple things that make life wonderful,” he noted.
The contest was completed on January 31, 2014. There will be three winners, who will be awarded high-tech prizes.
The aim of the Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia is to strengthen the sense of community and to contribute to social change and to personal growth, by reconnecting young people and older ones with their Greek heritage.
Cosmos Philly covers the Greek community of the Philadelphia metropolitan area through documentaries, news, and special features.
“The most amazing grandma in the world”
Joyce Trantas Goutsigian submitted to the contest a photo of Mrs. Zoe, her own grandma, but also a grandma to everyone. “Young and old, Greek or American, they all flocked to her either for her blessing, her guidance or her words of wisdom. She imparted encouragement and hope through her kind words, her strong convictions, and her superb food,” she stated, adding that she felt blessed for having “the most amazing grandma in the world.”
Grandma’s and grandpa’s strength
Danae Renieri admitted that she received a lot from her grandpa and grandma, but she will never reach their strength. As she said, at age 87 and 80 respectively, they seem to have a better constitution than their 27-year-old granddaughter, since they work in the garden, in the field, they cook, they clean, and they babysit their great-grandchildren.
Danae lost her father at a young age and grandma and grandpa, in a way, took his place. “The two of them took care of me and taught me how to perceive the world… They have character, courage, gentleness, and selflessness. The mere thought of a world without them brings tears in my eyes. Everything would be much quieter. I will always keep them in my heart and I only hope that one day I will become as good a grandma as they are…” she concluded.
In grandpa’s embrace
Olga Yiantsos mentioned the comforting effect of the embrace, the constant smile, and the hearty laugh of her grandpa.
“As I was growing up, grandpa was my hero and my best friend; every time he visited I was the happiest kid in the world. Something in grandpa’s embrace brought me comfort, even though I couldn’t entirely hug his big belly,” she underlined.
The strongest person 16-year-old Olga has met, he has overcome prostate cancer and continues to be present in some of the happiest moments of her life.
For Katerina Pappas grandpa Elias is the embodiment of “all things beautiful in Greece.” He was born in a small village in Northern Greece, but did not let his weak body and the lack of opportunities wear him down. He managed to reach the United States and become a Professor of Cardiology at Temple University.
“Kolokotronis,” as Katerina calls him, taught his granddaughter that “being Greek is related to one’s spirit.”
The camera lens captured this spirit in the eyes of the 96-year-old grandpa: “the endless curiosity, the wonder of the unknown, the respect for man’s potential…”
Translated by Elias Pantelidis