The 54th Karavitiko Symposium (begun in 1967) was held on 21 February, about a year after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. It is interesting to note that the 2020 Karavitiko Symposium was the first (and last) major Kytherian function held in 2020 and the 2021 Symposium was the first Kytherian function to be held since then.
Much has happened in the intervening time. We have witnessed suffering and economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. Greece has been hit hard, like much of Europe. In light of this, we continued our traditions as best we could, linking up with Kythera and Karavas via virtual means. The travel restrictions in place meant that most of us cannot travel there. We resolved to run an event that was simpler and more intimate in keeping with the COVID-19 restrictions and mindful of the government health requirements.
The day of the Karavitiko started with the liturgy at Kogarah Church to celebrate Agios Haralambos, the patron saint of Karavas. We had a small group of people attend the church service. Around one hundred and twenty people attended the luncheon to follow at The Kyle Bay, successfully bringing together Karavites, Kytherians, Greeks and friends. Our attendee numbers were restricted by request of the venue.
The theme of this year’s Karavitiko was ‘Our Parea’. It reflects the purpose of the Karavitiko Symposium which is to bring people together to share our experiences and our history. We invite speakers to talk about topics related to Karava and Kythera. We acknowledge those Karavites and their friends who have now passed on. We acknowledge those who have made a difference to Karava and to Karavites through the handing out of special certificates. BUT, most of all we want to have fun! We enjoy each other’s company (‘Our Parea’), in a nice place with lovely food and I think we hit that mark year after year!
The focus of the Karavitiko Symposium is not only fundraising. Our luncheon functions are very good value! The money we raise is from the generous support of our raffle and we rely on people’s generosity to donate prizes and all the prizes at the event were donated.
The Karavitiko Symposium supports worthy charities which are involved in improving the Karavitiko and Kytherian culture and people. At the Karavitiko, we discussed the fundraising options that were being considered by the committee. We have a few ideas put forward for spending our funds including the Karavas Patrikio Scholi and Migration monument. If anyone has any ideas, please speak to the committee.
Thanks to last year’s donation by Harry Magiros at our special auction, we have a healthy balance of around $10,000. We set aside some of that money for our next event.
Last year, however, due to COVID-19, we were unable to progress on donating money to good causes. We are always looking for ideas on the best place to spend the funds raised at this event. In the past we spent money on the installation of mirrors on dangerous corners in Karava, which was a great benefit to locals and visitors.
On behalf of the Karavitiko Symposium committee, we would like to thank our attendees and our supporters of the Karavitiko, for making this a special event for all of us this year. Here are just a few…
- Thank you to Emmanuel Alfieris and Andrew Malanos for the update on the KAA projects and Centenary,
- Thank you to all those who donated prizes, including George and Gloria Dimopoulos who donated the BBQ for our first prize in the raffle,
- Congratulations to our certificate winners for their longstanding support of the Karavitiko- Stephen & Anna Zantiotis and Maria & Chris Bokos,
- Thank you to Vicky Poulos for decorating the Agios Haralambos icon and
- Thank you to our DJ Peter Cominos, our resident photographer, Victor Kepreotis and to Aphroditie Samios and Terase Calligeros for helping on the day.
A big thank you to our dedicated committee who give up their time to organise this event – Marianne Casimatis, Sylvia Milis, Peter Poulos, Sophia Poulos, Theo Poulos, Kyrranne Thomas, Barbara Zantiotis and George Zantis, and a big thanks to the support of their families. Wishing that you continue to stay safe and well and we hope to see you at our next Karavitiko in 2022. The Karavitiko turns 55 next year, so this will be very special for us!