The legend of the kingfisher


Greek mythology is rich in wonderful stories that are often woven into everyday life. One such story is that of Halcyone, the daughter of Aeolus, the god of the wind.

Halcyone and her husband Ceyx were so happy in their marriage that they imagined themselves to be gods. They therefore did not call each other by their own names, but let themselves be called Zeus and Hera, equal to the supreme god and his wife. This incurred the wrath of Zeus, who caused Ceyx to perish at sea during a storm. In sorrow, Halcyone also threw herself into the sea, after which Zeus changed her into a kingfisher. From then on Halcyone flies along the Greek coasts, always looking for her lost lover, and is doomed to make her nest on the beach in the midst of winter, where her eggs are swept away by the winter storms.

In time, so the story goes, Zeus took pity on Halcyone. He ensured that there would be no winter storms for seven days every winter. While her father Aeolus keeps the winds and waves in check, the kingfisher can hatch her eggs during these ‘Halcyone days’.

To this day, the Greeks firmly believe in these Halcyone days, a period between mid-January and mid-February when the weather suddenly turns exceptionally warm. Today is February 6th; the forecast for this weekend is that in many parts of Greece the temperature will reach 25 degrees, while the wind is almost absent…

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