In terms of food imagery, the Athens games were our favorite from start to finish. See our blogs on the use of the olive branch as a symbol of the games.....olive wreaths crowning winners; the torch was inspired by an olive leaf.
The entire closing ceremony used wheat as a symbol. The companion jumbo screen showed a golden wheatfield video. Among other things, the final ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games featured 100 “koudounatoi” - a Greek custom with direct origins in the Bacchic rituals of ancient times, as well as a line of 60 Pontos dancers, doing one of the most powerful Greek dances. All was taged in a spiral field of golden stylized "wheat" made of 45,000 stalks.
Here's an explanation for the choice of wheat: (excerpted from the Official Guide to the Closing Ceremony):
A golden spiral wheat field at the centre of the stadium formed the centerpiece of the programme. Made up of 45,000 individually ‘planted’ stalks, it covered an area of almost 6,000 sq. metres. It took 100 man-hours to ‘plant’ the wheat stalks.
The spiral wheat field was chosen because, in Greek folklore, golden wheat is the “fruit of the marriage between the earth and the sun”.
In Greek festivities, “wheat symbolised the fertility of the earth, the awakening of life that arises from death”.
According to the Technical Director of the ceremony, “The spiral represents the notion of infinity, a form that frequently recurs in nature. Our galaxy is spiral in form.”
The programme started with a colourful and vibrant ‘mosaic of celebrations’ a medley of ancient, traditional and popular Greek music with the synopsis,“May the dances last forever”.
The theme was “May God keep us healthy, so we can always meet and celebrate, dancing in circles as free as a river.”
"The Opening Ceremony was a celebration of humanity while the Closing Ceremony will be a warm and human celebration. It will be like an invitation to eat, drink and dance and sing with us, the Greek way. It will feature a colourful mosaic, compiled of pieces of Greek celebrations gathered from all regions of Greece featuring a fast edit of a constant flow, like rivers of energy, of 2,100 volunteers." according to an official press briefing.
The image (above right) of Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture carrying wheat sheaves, is from:http://www.geschiedenisvoorkinderen.nl/Griekengoden.htm
Did you watch? What did you think of the wheat imagery? Did you cook or eat anything Greek during the two week Olympic run?