Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hairy Godmother

Sunday morning I was in panic mode, trying to get my masses of curly hair washed and presentable and trying to keep my all-white ensemble clean. I managed the first but not the second. White is really not my colour, I had stained the trousers before even reaching the venue.
We picked up my godson, who was in a good mood, and headed off to get toasted in his outdoor baptism. All was well. And then we met the priest.
Let me tell you, religious heads of any kind scare me because I was schooled in the Home Country where religious education is compulsory. Being a bigoted fanatic was part of the curriculum, and so I just don't like being around those types. They draw too many dividing lines between people.
The priest was a jolly Santa-Clausy sort of fellow who asked first of all, in a grave voice, if me and Mr Zeus were married. Uh no, but we're working on it! Ah, he said. Good. And the girl is Christian, correct?
I confess that there, in the Church, Mr Zeus lied on my behalf and said "Yes". Now I know people like Anonymous will probably take great offence to a heathen like me sneaking my way to godmother status but I don't buy into the "My God's bigger than your God" mentality. I believe there's only one God.
Besides, I ended up knowing more about the baptism customs than Mr Zeus thanks to my research, so I was a better fake Christian than he is a real one.
Best of all, because it was a private ceremony I didn't have to read out the Greek prayer. There were various things which I had to repeat after the priest that were explained to me later. It was all very short and intense, ending with the godparents presenting back the baby to his parents, baptised, oiled and dressed in new clothes. That bit was best, not because by then my godson was crying hysterically and wriggling out of my arms, but because I felt established as a part of his life.
So that is how I became an official illegal godmother. Godparenting is a huge deal in Greece, and might I add a very profitable business! Part of the reason things went so smoothly is because we crossed the priest's palm generously as it is customary for godparents to make a donation to the church. Just a tip to keep in mind...

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