Panarcadian Mother’s Day focuses on health, Hippocrates and heritage

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On Sunday, May 19th, the Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria, “O Kolokotronis,” held their successful annual Mother’s Day event at their North Melbourne hall. Over 100 guests enjoyed an afternoon filled with traditional Greek food, music, dancing, poetry, and a presentation on well-being by Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM.

An intergenerational event, mothers and their children were well-represented. Dr. Kotsirilos’ 38 years of clinical experience benefitted young and old alike. Her presentation in English was brought to life into Greek by emcee Emily Kazakos. Together, the two women focused on the importance of preventative medicine and a healthy lifestyle, drawing inspiration from the teachings of Hippocrates.

panarcadian
Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM.
panarcadian mother's day
Panarcadian Vice President Betty Dimitropoulos was a gracious hostess, making sure the event ran smoothly
Panarcadian Vice President Betty Dimitropoulos was a gracious hostess, making sure the event ran smoothly

“Hippocrates’ teachings focused on a more natural, holistic approach to understanding and treating patients’ health,” Dr. Kotsirilos explained. “His theories still underlie modern medicine. He prescribed simple treatments like lifestyle and behavioural advice, diet, rest, hygiene, clean water, exercise, walking, and sleep.”

As an example of how changes can promote healing, Dr Kotsirilos showed the audience a withering plant she had successfully nurtured back to health. In her own life, she prioritises a healthy lifestyle and encourages others to do the same.

“I’ve noticed that migrants from Greece tend to have a strong constitution, even if they have chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease,” she said. “It’s because they grew up in the mountains and horio (village), eating good food, which gave their bodies a strong foundation.”

Emily Kazakou was the MC of the event featuring a presentation by Dr Vicki Kotsirilos
Emily Kazakou was the MC of the event featuring a presentation by Dr Vicki Kotsirilos
panarcadian mother's day

Dr Kotsirilos also noted the reduced exposure to chemicals in their environment, contributing to their overall health.

Complementing the talk was a generous spread of healthy dishes, including traditional favourites like imam bayildi, salads, fish, poultry, and fresh fruit – the simple tastes of childhood when the Mediterranean diet was commonplace in Greek households.

Artist/musician Panagiota Stamatopoulou, who has followed a vegetarian lifestyle since 1978, told The Greek Herald how it positively impacted her life.

“I used to struggle with depression,” she said, “but changing my diet improved all aspects of my life. I became an artist, and I’ve felt so much better since then.”

Panagiota Stamatopoulou has been a vegetarian since 1978
Panagiota Stamatopoulou has been a vegetarian since 1978

She added that her grandfather’s brother, George Stamatopoulos, used the differences in human and carnivorous animal teeth to highlight how plant-based foods were the natural choice for people’s constitution.

Reflecting on her childhood, Ms Stamatopoulou recalled arriving in Australia in 1954 with her parents.

“We used to come to this Association,” she said, “where I would play the accordion.”

George Kotsirilos, President of the Panarcadian Association, also has fond memories of visiting the hall as a child with his parents. Dimitris and Ariadne Kotsirilos were present to enjoy the event, organised by their son and featuring their niece, Dr Vicki, as a speaker.

George Kotsirilos and his cousin, Dr Vicki Kotsirilos
George Kotsirilos and his cousin, Dr Vicki Kotsirilos

“As the second generation we’ll continue to host this event. We want to honour our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers who worked so hard for us,” he said.

Angeliki Alexakou came with the mother figure in her life, Irini Karagounis.

“Since my mother passed away 15 years ago, Irini, her best friend, has taken care of me,” Ms Alexakou said. “I always remember her on Mother’s Day.”

panarcadian mother's day
panarcadian mother's day

Mothers were indeed the honoured guests.

“There’s one mother we especially wanted to honour when deciding to donate the proceeds of today’s event,” President George said. “Our mother language! The funds will go towards the Greek language program at La Trobe University.”

The Association will be donating $2,000 to the La Trobe Greek language program.

Each mother present also received a lovely potted plant as a token of appreciation for their contribution to the Association and their attendance.

The Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria, “O Kolokotronis” is at 570 Victoria Street, North Melbourne.

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