Thursday , February 25 2021

Zakynthos Halcyon days and its myth

What a beautiful day in Zakynthos!!!!

Could this be the start of the Halcyon days known to Greeks as the Alkionithes.
The name Alkionides is derived from the mythological “Alkionides Days” which during the month of January early February are warm and sunny.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Halcyon (Alcyone in Greek) was the daughter of Aeolus, the ruler of the winds. She was married to the mortal king Ceyx of Tachis. Their love for each other was downed upon by the gods as they would often joke about them in what they thought was secret.
Once, when Ceyx had to go to Delphi to consult the oracle of Apollo, he chose to sail there despite all the cries of his beloved Halcyon, who was terribly afraid of the sea. She was right to be afraid, Ceyx drowned trying to fight the storm, aware that he was to drown, Ceyx asked Poseidon (the sea god) to bring his body to his wife’s arms. In the meantime, afraid for her husband and not knowing yet what had happened, Halcyon asked Hera to ensure his safe trip.

It was too late and Hera had no choice but to send for Hypnos, who instructed Morpheus, the God of Dreams, to appear in the poor woman’s dreams and tell her about the tragedy. The desperate Halcyon went to the coast where she found Ceyx’s body and threw herself into the dark waves. Amazed by her love and devotion, the gods decided to save her and to transform her into a seabird. They also turned Ceyx into another kingfisher so the two could live and be together.

Zeus ordered that Halcyon would lay her eggs only in winter. Having her nest near the shore, close by the spot where she found the body of Ceyx, the stormy waves kept sweeping away her eggs.

Crying and praying endlessly, Halcyon finally managed to touch Zeus’s heart. Encouraged by the other Gods as well, Zeus decided to give her 14 days of good and calm weather in the middle of winter.


The two kingfisher birds as we know them to be called, or Halcyon birds as they are also known, were able to keep their eggs safe every winter during the period that came seven days before and seven days after winter solstice. During these days Halcyon’s father would keep the winds calm on the sea.
Let’s hope this year’s nesting season is a good one.

About Louise Inzk

Louise is Australian born and has been a Greek citizen since 1991. She has deep cultural ties with the island, often writing about Zakynthian Traditions and Culture. She is also an active member of the Volunteer Group of Zakynthos, Giostra Di Zante and is a member of the women's choir "Rodambelos". Her love of the island and all it offers saw her joining the Zakynthos (Zante) Informer admin team in 2014.

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