Saturday, November 17, 2007

The great Olympics

The Olympic games first began in Olympia in 774 B.C. Athletes from all over Greece would participate, and the games would always begin with the athletes facing the statue of Zeus and making the Olympic oath.

The athletes wore laurel wreaths on their heads and nothing else -- they usually participated in the nude, not only as the weather was appropriate but also as the festival was meant to celebrate, in part, the achievements of the human body. Also, only men could participate and women were strictly forbidden.

This, however, is modern day Virginia, and it was chilly yesterday, so the athletes were both male and female and they wore full winter gear.

The Olympic games originally contained one event: the stadion race, a short sprint measuring between 180 and 240 metres, or the length of the stadium. More foot races were added in time.


Other events eventually included the discus...

... and the javelin.


There were also chariot races:


And other games, as well. However, this reviewer was busy setting up the feast (and ignoring the baklava and tyropita), so there are no further photos to share.

On the final day of the Olympics (or in this case, the final hour), there was a banquet for all of the participants, consisting of 100 oxen that had been sacrificed to Zeus on the first day. Children's taste buds being what they are, the modern feast consisted of chicken, pita bread, fruits and vegetables, and of course baklava. One of the third grade families is Greek Orthodox, so it was with great eagerness that they were greeted at the start of the games, as they were carrying platters of food made by actual Greek women.

All in all, the Olympic games were a huge success. Tune in on Tuesday for a review of the Greek Tragedy, as it will be performed by the third grade. But first, I have to wash and iron 17 togas...

8 comments:

Family Adventure said...

What a great idea! Learning through fun...

I might steal it and suggest it at my boys' school. Love the pictures!

Heidi

The Guider said...

Love this. They look like they had a ball, and it is all very creative.

My Brownies had an Olympics and along with the running races, we had to include welly-whanging (throwing a welly as far as you can) because they find it hilarious.

blackbird said...

We had Greek Olympics a few years ago at school...don't you love it?

Melissa said...

Hurray for the Greeks! Glad to hear you let the fairer sex do more than make food:)

Flutterby said...

That looks like GREAT FUN!!

Ned said...

Hey my third grader just had his greek festival friday. He/we had a ball.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Ned: Ah, that's the lovely Commonwealth of Virginia for you. Ancient Greece is on the 3rd grade SOLs in the spring... I'm sure you understand the rest. :-)

Badness Jones said...

So adorable! And you are hereby nominated for sainthood for ironing the togas...