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Thread: I pin the devil

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    I pin the devil

    You can do this to find lost objects. You sit on the sofa with a pin, and trace a circle on the arm of the sofa in an anti-clockwise direction; as you do it you say: 'I pin the devil'. You do that three times and then stick the pin in the centre of the circle; as you do so, you ask for the lost object back by name. It'll turn up within three days, then you remove the pin. It's very strange but it seems to work. I have been told that, as Roman Catholics call upon St Antony to retrieve lost objects, so Greeks resort to this spooky practice to do the same. Is this correct? Or what do Greeks do as such a custom in some form is universal. Should I ask the question here or under Discussing anything under the sun?
    I did mention 'the tooth fairy' here so perhaps this the right part of the forum to ask the question.

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    Mod Almighty Palavra's Avatar
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    I've never heard of this. There is, however, the practice of baking a cake to Saint Phanourios, the φανουρόπιτα. It is made with olive oil instead of butter, raisins etc. The cake is baked with the intent to find a missing object, and when it's ready, it needs to be shared. This means that you can't eat it yourself, but you give it out to other people. It can also be promised to the saint, along the lines of "My good St Phanourie, please let me find my [thing I lost] and I will bake you a phanouropita".

    My mother (despite claiming not to be religious) swears that the cake miraculously works. Oh, and if you do bake a phanouropita, you must not say to others why you baked it, otherwise you will jinx it and the lost thing will never turn up.
    The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".
    -Isaak Asimov

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    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    I am not familiar with Greek practical magic, but I know that some people bake a φανουρόπιτα for St Phanourios' mother, so he could φανερώσει whatever it is they are looking for.
    Needless to say there is no historical proof of the existence of such a saint or his mother, but from the name it is obvious he replaced similar pre-Christian traditions.

    ΥΓ Με προλαβε η Παλάβρα

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    And in Greek, please.

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    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    Greek Wikipedia has this:
    Η παρετυμολογική παρήχηση του ονόματός του [άγιου Φανούριου] με το φαίνω «φανερώνω» τον έκανε δημοφιλή στη λαϊκή παράδοση για την φανέρωση χαμένων ανθρώπων, ζώων ή πραγμάτων. Οι χριστιανοί φτιάχνουν μια νηστίσιμη πίτα, την φανουρόπιτα, για να τους φανερώσει ο άγιος απολεσθέντα αντικείμενα ή και την τύχη των ανύπανδρων κοριτσιών. Η πίτα γίνεται με εννέα υλικά, νηστίσιμα και αφού διαβαστεί και κοπεί σε σαράντα κομμάτια μοιράζεται στους πιστούς.
    http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%86%...B9%CE%BF%CF%82

    The Greek equivalent for the English mumbo-jumbo would be: “Άγιε Φανούρη μου, φανέρωσέ μου το [missing item]” or, I suppose, “Άγιε Φανούρη μου, κάνε το θαύμα σου”.
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Θα περάσει κι αυτό
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

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    Mod Almighty Palavra's Avatar
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    I made further investigations: my mother () says that you don't say anything when you bake the cake, you just put the thing you lost on your mind and keep thinking about it. However, when you eat a φανουρόπιτα (which, of course, was given to you) you usually say «Θεός σχωρέσ' τη μάνα του αγίου Φανουρίου», meaning "God forgive St Phanourios's mother" (she was supposed to have a propensity for debauchery; according to other sources, she was a prostitute).
    The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".
    -Isaak Asimov

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    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    But there are no real sources, are there? All we truly know about the saint is an icon found in Rhodes bearing the inscription ΑΓΙΟΣ ΦΑΝΟΥΡΙΟΣ (and even that is hearsay).
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Θα περάσει κι αυτό
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Earion's Avatar
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    In addition to the cake to St Phanourios there is another piece of popular magic: the inverted scissors.
    Pin down to the ground (or between the planks of your apartment’s flooring) a pair of scissors, with its limbs open, and the lost object will appear in due time.
    Άλλο πληροφορία, άλλο γνώση· άλλο βία, άλλο δύναμη.

  9. #9
    Administrator Zazula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earion View Post
    Pin down to the ground a pair [...] with its limbs open, and the lost object will appear in due time.
    Well, I always knew open limbs are revealing — but I'd never thought of that trick!

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    Senior Member bernardina's Avatar
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    Με ένα χρόνο καθυστέρηση (!) να προσθέσω -για ιστορικούς λόγους- πως υπάρχει και η πρακτική να καρφώνεις μια καρφίτσα στον σοβά του τοίχου. Υποτίθεται πως όταν βρεθεί το χαμένο αντικείμενο πέφτει από μόνη της. Είναι ό,τι πιο κοντινό προς το ερώτημα του Θησέα έχω ακούσει. Δεν ξέρω αν αφορά κάποια στενά τοπική συνήθεια· το πρόσωπο που μου το ανέφερε κατάγεται από την περιοχή της Αμφιλοχίας.
    Ζωή σου είναι ό,τι έδωσες
    τούτο το κενό είναι ό,τι έδωσες
    το άσπρο χαρτί.

    Γ.Σ.

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