I'd like to do the occasional post about modern phrases or expressions that have Greek origins. I'll only do those that I feel might be of some interest. So I'll start with the phrase Halcyon Days.
Nowadays it is used in English to express a kind of nostalgia for carefree and 'sunny' days gone by. In Greek, however, we use it to describe a few days in January (which is why I'm posting it now) when the weather is calm and sunny before reverting to normal winter weather. The expression in Greek is Alkyonides (soft d) Meres.
The Alcyone was a bird (often associated with the kingfisher) in Greek legend that had the ability to calm the sea for 14 days in the winter solstice, in order to brood her eggs in a floating nest on the sea surface.
The belief in the bird's power to calm the sea originated in a myth where Aeolus, the ruler of the winds, had a daughter named Alcyone, who was married to Ceyx, the king of Thessaly. Ceyx was drowned at sea and Alcyone threw herself into the sea in grief. Instead of drowning, she was carried to her husband by the wind.
So now you know!