5 September 2008

Back To School - Greek Style

The start of the school year is big business in Greece. Perhaps because the summer holidays are so long - the best part of three months - when September comes around, everyone with school age children enters the spirit of the season, and gets out their wallets and purses and sets off to the stationers. Stationery shops that, for the rest of the year, look like ordinary shops, all of a sudden seem to spill out on to the pavement with vast arrays of school bags - suitably decorated and designer-oriented towards the target market. Pink and sparkly for junior girls, bright reds and navy blues for junior boys - with the cartoon favourite of the year blazened on the front. It's a definite no-no to start school with last year's colours, or last year's hero on your bag. At senior school level, colours are grungy but the logo has to be the "right" one - your offspring's reputation is at stake. As well as the bag, it is essential to have a new "cassetina" or pencil case, filled to the brim with co-ordinating pencils, felt-tips, jell-biros, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks, and so on and so forth. Parents need very deep pockets at this time of year!