Levendi, Mangas and Palikari

"Leventi" (Λευεντι) in Greek means "handsome one".

"Manga/Mangas" (Μανγγας)
In 1975-76, while I was in 8th Grade at the St. Spyridon Greek Parochial School in Washington Heights (NYC), the John Travolta disco look was in full swing and very popular among boner-stricken, 13-year-old, Greek males in search of hormonal success with the young ladies at our school socials.

In these situations, "manga" was a term we used a lot to complement each other at social events, but often in a mocking way. It's like calling the guy "Disco King" or "Mr. Saturday Night Fever" as a way of reckognizing the effort he put in to looking suave. The recipient is expected to be able to tell the difference--or simply interpret it the way they want. In either case, it is always given in good humor.

"Palikari" (Παλικαρι) is a word that is not easiily translated. It is probably the finest complement you could pay to a man. It has its roots in a word once used to describe the best of soldiers. So, it imbues: honorable, forthright, chivalrous, gentlemanly, manly, courageous, steadfast. Over time it has also been expanded to include a somewhat humourous meaning when directed at a youth:
(n) lad, ruffian, trouble-maker, roisterer, squirt, prankster.
(adj) loveable, impish, precious, devious, errant, wandering.

Categories: Greek Culture, St. Spyridon School, Greek Language

Comments: No comments yet

Post a comment