CULTURE

Pontic Greeks meet to renew traditions

This year, just as they have for the past 25 years, the Pontic Greeks of Europe gathered for their annual celebration, this time in Germany. The deep pride in their Pontic roots is obvious in the crowd, who include not only older Pontic Greeks but also children and teenagers. The so-called «flame of the Pontus» does not look like it’s going to die down anytime soon. The gathering this year took place in Pepligen, a small industrial town just outside of Stuttgart. More than 1,200 children danced the traditional dances together, dressed in the ethnic clothes of their culture. Even though the weather was gloomy, since it was raining non-stop, coaches rolled in from every part of Europe – Stockholm, Brussels and Switzerland and from 34 cities in Germany. The young people who arrived intended to celebrate their Pontic roots. «We live and resurrect a vision,» said the past president of the confederation, Christos Galanidis. «Every year, we return to our roots in Pontus, where every door has a name.» Added Giorgos Parcharidis, president of the Pan-Pontic Confederation, «Pontus will live through our songs and dances, through our language and through our memories.» Parcharidis, who is cardiology professor at Thessaloniki University, is helping to organize the First Global Pan-Pontic Conference in Athens in July.