The true origins of the Halloween holiday

Halloween is a holiday that takes place on the night of October the 31st. The actual word Halloween is a shortening of "All Hallows" Evening, which has also been referred to as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve.

The night of Halloween seems to be steadily rising in popularity across the world in the last 10 years. Traditional activities associated with Halloween are:
  • Trick-or-treats
  • Bonfires
  • Costume parties
  • Visiting "haunted houses"
  • Carving jack-o-lanterns
Irish and Scottish immigrants carried their own versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th Century. Western countries fully embraced the holiday in the late 20th Century including UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus and many other former British colonies.

Halloween takes its origins from the ancient Celtic festival called "Samhain". In essence, the festival of Samhain celebrates the climax of the harvest season according to Gaelic culture. Samhain was traditionally a time used by the ancient pagans to organize supply stocks and prepare for the harsh winter ahead. The ancient Gaels visioned that on the 31st of October, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead somehow overlapped. They also believed that the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The Samhain festival often involved bonfires and it's believed that the light of the fire generated great insect activity, which in turn attracted Bats! Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or even to appease them.

Trick-or-treating today, is the is most common activity for children associated with Halloween. This fun game-like activity, typically takes place before or on Halloween night. Here, children move from house to house in scarey costumes, asking for treats such as sweets or chocolate, as they pop the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" part is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. It has become socially expected in most of the countries indicated above, that if one lives in a neighborhood with children, is necessary to purchase treats in preparation for the trick-or-treaters.

The successes and failures of the new Piale Pasha Boulevard

2014 was the first summer that the residents of Larnaca could enjoy the new Piale Pasha Boulevard and enjoy the new walkway of Larnaca  they did. Every weekend the split level Boulevard is literally packed with walkers, families, couples, cyclists, skateboarders, scooters and people from Larnaca taking advantage of this wonderful new space that brings the city to the sea.

All of this despite the fact the Boulevard has had its share of challenges, which are detailed here below in bullet form:
  • The project was delayed from May to July 2014 (not bad for Cyprus though!).
  • It's not the most attractive walkway with lots of concrete!
  • The Restaurants are not happy, as they cannot utilize the space on the pavement of the upper level. 
  • The width of the road is just wide enough to allow a line of cars to park and it seems that there is no stopping them. 
  • The Boulevard is not yet finished, see the picture below.
Overall the Piale Pasha Boulevard should be seen as a positive initiative and judging by the number of walkers it's brought a new dimension to the city of Larnaca, so let's be collectively grateful and kindly ask the Municipality to learn from the mistakes outlined above. 

Coffee culture and the brand wars of Cyprus

This drug can turn a profit in a recession, chill the otherwise stressed island people and it's responsible for many hours of idle talk. Yes COFFEE is the drug that I am speaking of!

During the boom years of Cyprus all the major brand names and/or franchises such as Costa Coffee (UK), Starbucks (US), Flo Cafe (Greece), Gloria Jeans (Australia), Coffee Beanery (US), Segafredo (Italy), Illy (Italy), Caffe Nero (UK) and their many copies, actually convinced the population at large in Cyprus that a simple Coffee (however dressed) could or should cost as much as 5 euro. What's more astonishing, is that they got away with it for such a long time and Cypriots/Expats alike were literally  hooked on a Coffee Budget of up to 10 euro per day!

They applied every trick in the book by confusing us with sizes, when small became > large, medium became > extra large (the unusual norm) and large turned into a well, soup bowl! Intense marketing, comfy sofas, wooden decking on the balcony, fancy umbrellas and fake claims of sustainability, all duped us into buying more Coffee than we really needed.

Then came the recession, which started to hit the peoples pocket in 2012 and then it exploded in 2013. Suddenly, even that overly sugary Frappuccino or luxury Frape was at risk of being cut from the dwindling expenses of the average Cypriot household.

The major franchises stuck with their unsustainable prices for as long as they could, to squeeze tevery last drop of money. Occasional special offers and discounts appeared on the market and the people kept drink Coffee to moan about the financial crisis.

Then enter the new wave of Coffee Houses, that understand all the people really wanted was a combination of a decent place to sit outside (perhaps to combine with smoking), quality coffee and a reasonable price, which is easy enough to deliver, as the mark ups are so huge!

All of a sudden here in Larnaca we saw even more trendy Cafe bars opening everywhere, from Ermou Square to Makarios Avenue and of course Finikoudes. Coffee Island (Greece) has already relatively recently opened 7 outlets in Larnaca alone (same as Limassol). In Nocosia they operate 15 outlets and it's easier to partner with them. 

Coffee Island and to a lesser extent Lavazza have understood the pulse of the people by meeting the above mentioned criteria for a decent Coffee in a recession. Many other small individual Coffee businesses have also opened too and the market is going crazy at present (all be at lower prices) even in a recession, such is the love of the Coffee culture among all Cypriots. 

The Government is hell bent on destroying small businesses in Cyprus

Ever since the recession started in Cyprus and the disastrous bail-out crisis that followed, small and medium sized businesses (SME's) have been under constant attack by the Government. Tens of thousands have gone bankrupt and cannot afford to operate, yet the Government directed by the Troika are hell bent on destroying the small businessman through a series of Corporate Tax increases, new company taxes, increases in VAT, property taxes, international banking restrictions, theft from bank accounts, no credit facilities and tough tactics to collect funds when the man on the street is trying to survive. 

Cyprus was once the land of the small businessman, but that has now dramatically changed. It seems that no allowances are made for the SME's and the result is a mass of closures. It seems that the banks and Government who brought the country to into the mes we are in, are making the rules up as they go along by forcing the man on the street to pay for what they have done.

Now the story continues to get worse with the Annual Government Levy that was €350 until 30/06/2014 will be increased as from 01/07/2014 until 31/08/2014 to €385.

Then as from 01/09/2014 until 30/11/2014 the amount will be increased to €490.

A company that generates millions pays effectively the same as one that generates hundreds or even dormant. Of course to a large company €490 is nothing, but to a small business its the difference between surviving or not and another major blow.

In summary Cyprus is no longer SME friendly and it appears that the agenda is to squeeze out as many SME's as possible to bolster the business advancements of the mega companies and multinationals, so that the new workforce can be placed on the minimum wage.

Puttin on the Ritz - an exclusive "It's Vintage Darling" Fashion Show!

Without question, the best Fashion Show in town this Autumn! 

Showcasing timeless unique, one-of-a-kind, pre-loved and carefully selected statement Vintage pieces ranging from Furs to Accessories.

Koo, Mackenzie Beach, Cyprus

10th of October - Starts 7pm

More Information
This is a Ticket-Only Event! To reserve tickets click this link: Puttin on the Ritz Reservations
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