christmas in greece traditions

Saint Basil managed to change the prefect’s mind and exempt local people from having to give away their valuables. One of the traditions most commonly associated with Greece is their use of spices in much of their dishes, whether an entree or dessert. Over the years we notice a universal culture developing as the western European customs spread more and more change. Basil-pie' or 'king pie', see below) is a New Year's Day bread or cake in Greece and many other areas in eastern Europe and the Balkans which contains a hidden coin or trinket which gives good luck … Some families in … by GCT Team Carols about the birth of Jesus sung by the sweet choral voices of children, special decorations, scary superstitions, and painstakingly-made cakes all make up part of Greece’s many Christmas traditions. “Turkey made its appearance in the late 19th century, when the elite started following the trends of French cuisine,” says Karamanes. You can rely on us to have the most comprehensive collection of ornaments, folk art and collectibles as well as decor for … Also popular is bread called Christopsomo that has a cross design baked into it and is eaten after Christmas dinner. Though the decoration differs based on the region and is adapted to represent the households’s life and work, every Christopsomo has a cross made of dough in the centre, as well as almonds and nuts sprinkled on top to symbolise prosperity. Made solely of ingredients sourced locally, these scrumptious delicacies have, according to Karamanes, been part of Greek tradition since antiquity. Roast pork is the traditional Christmas meal during Christmas in Greece. Melomakarona (honey cookies) and kourabiedes (sugar-coated butter cookies) are the most popular traditional Christmas desserts in Greece. On Christmas Eve, doorbells in houses around the country start ringing from as early as 7am in the morning. Kallikantzaroi, plural (Kallikantzaros singular) are mischievous Greek goblins, elves or gnomes, that appear during the twelve days of Christmas, from the end of December until Epiphany, January sixth. Kallikantzari Tease Villages. “Like most traditions, the custom of eating pork during Christmas not only has symbolic meaning but it is also strongly related to the household’s economy,” explains Karamanes, adding that parts of the pig were preserved and eaten throughout the rest of the year. The Kallikantzaroi, is one such story, which has become a Greek Christmas tradition. Where the religious way provides them with an opportunity to celebrate the festival strictly according to conventional traditional, the latter facilitates them to enjoy the late-night parties and dance throughout the night with loud music. A very old and spiritual tradition around Christmas time in Greece is to take a shallow wooden bowl with a thin piece of wire connecting one side of the bowl to the other. Epiphany (January 6), called Theophany and colloquially Ta Phota (meaning ‘lights’) in Greece, is a feast day celebrating the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River by Saint John the Baptist. A POMEGRANATE, an ancient symbol of prosperity and good luck, is hung above the door throughout Christmas. The most popular ones are the decoration of the Christmas boat, the Kalenda (Greek Christmas carols), Vasilopita, and smashing the pomegranate. Every Vasilopita contains a coin; the head of the family cuts the pie into pieces, and whoever finds the coin is said to be in store for a lucky year. There are so many ways to celebrate the holiday season that don't involve gift-giving. According to Karamanes, for the next few decades Christmas trees were only seen in upper-class … New Year Vasilopita 2018 Sponsored by St. Andrew Philoptochos Order deadline: December 11, 2016. According to the folk Christmas traditions, the hobgoblins are short, ugly creatures with many deformities. And of course all the Greek Christmas treats, which every household prepares during the festive season. The Christmas Boat, Tree, and Nativity Scene. https://goo.gl/UwxBi8 Download TONS of FREE PDF lessons to learn Greek twice as fast! Other households (perhaps less devout) were reduced to simple bribery and would put meat out for the Kallikantzaroi—a more substantial snack than the milk and cookies Westerners traditionally put out for Santa. Folklore expert Evangelos Karamenes spoke to Culture Trip about the most popular Greek Christmas traditions to have survived the centuries. In recent years, the City of Athens has sponsored extensive Christmas displays and events in Syntagma Square and elsewhere in Athens. Greece has its own musical traditions around the holidays, too. Or Merry Christmas in Greek Explore the Christmas traditions of Greece. Of course, the traditional Christmas Tree is as beloved a decorative symbol of the season as it is elsewhere. If you want to be part of this long-lasting celebration, check out the most popular Greek Christmas traditions and customs. In Greece, Christmas is celebrated in all its glory. According to tradition, during the Greek 12 days of Christmas (December 25 to January 6), goblins come out to tease people and eat their food. In Greece, Christmas means holidays that last for upto twelve days. Greek folk tradition has it that little mischievous kallikantzari, … The carols are one of the most important parts of the Christmas tradition in Greece. During the twelve days of Christmas, the young women of the village carry empty pitchers to nearby fountains and fill them with water. However, as soon as December arrives, festivities begin: homes are decorated, and the smell of Christmas treats is in the air. But how do Greeks celebrate Christmas? The first woman who gets to the fountain is blessed with lots of good luck for the rest … There is a tradition in which children go from house to house, to sing a carol and the resident of the houses gift them some amount of money. The evil eye is a superstition that a great percentage of Greeks believe in. St Basil’s Cake is prepared for the dinner of New Year’s Eve. Christmas in Greece means it's kourabiedes time again, and the mellow aroma of melomakarona cookies will fill Greek kitchens around the globe. Christmas in Greece comes with many old traditions and plenty of festivities. Christmas in Greece is traditionally a solemn, religious holiday. Christopsomo (Christ bread) is a round loaf that is a staple of the Greek Christmas table. The Evil Eye. Greek Christmas Guide What you need to know about Christmas Holidays in Greece. Greek Christmas Elf Lore While other cultures have Christmas elves, the Greek equivalent is not so benign. Whether you live in Greece or you are planning to spend your Christmas holidays in Greece for the first time, there are a few essential pieces of information you should know about Greek Christmas traditions.. Christmas and New Year is a beloved holiday period for the Greeks. Descriptions of them vary, and in one area they are believed to wear wooden or iron boots, the better to kick people, while other areas insist that they are hooved, not booted. Learn everything you need to know about Christmas in Greece! From Wikipedia: "Vasilopita (Greek: Βασιλόπιτα, Vasilópita, lit.'(St.) Fresh soft myzithra cheese (or ricotta as a substitute) in … There are distinct customs associated with the twelfth day. “By molding the dough into scenes from agricultural life (e.g. καλά Χριστούγεννα! Christmas celebrations in Greece officially last for 14 days, starting on Christmas Eve and ending on Epiphany (6 January) with the ‘Great Blessing of Water’. The hobgoblins are known as kallikantzari in Greek. In fact, the English word for Christmas carol comes from the Greek dance, the Choraulein, which is performed to flute music.Christmas carols were originally sung during festivals all around the world, including in Greece, so this tradition still lives strong in many of the major cities and small villages of the … Originally a German and Scandinavian custom, the tradition of decorating Christmas trees was introduced to Greece in 1833 when the Bavarian Prince Otto, who was at the time ruling the country (1832 – 1862), decorated the first Christmas tree in his palace in Nafplio. “The main ingredients of melomakarona and kourabiedes are oil, honey, oranges and nuts, which are Greece’s most famous food products. Christmas in Greece, or "the holidays," are not what they were 40 years ago. St Basil’s Cake. 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On Christmas Eve, children, especially boys, often go out singing 'kalanda' (carols) in the streets. On December 25, 1492, Christopher Columbus managed to run one of his ships, the Santa Maria, aground while exploring the coast of Hispaniola (present day Haiti).He had to abandon it on Christmas Day, and left behind 39 men who built the settlement of La Navidad. It is said that the one to find the cross first will be blessed for the whole year and that, following the ceremony, the water is totally cleansed. In folktales, the twelve days of their power figure in a "wicked stepmother" story where a young girl is forced to walk alone to a mill through the twelve days because her stepmother is hoping that the Kallikantzaroi will snatch her away.​. Christmas in Greece is traditionally a solemn, religious holiday. In some cases, it caused the elimination of local customs in certain areas - even entire countries. If you will be traveling to Greece at Christmas, it's good to remember that many offices, businesses, restaurants, and other amenities may be closed or keeping unusual hours during the holiday season. Being a maritime nation, Greece has a long naval heritage and the illuminated boat symbolises a love and respect for the sea, as well as the anticipation of reuniting with seafaring relatives and welcoming loved ones home. Kalitsounia Kritis Cheese Pastries. This quirky tradition is to be found in different corners of mainland Greece. Greek Christmas carols start with the narration of Christ’s birth, continue with expressions of praise for the household and the people living in it and finish with the kids’ request for a symbolic gift. Sometimes they will also carry model boats decorated with nuts which are painted gold. All year round, they live underground and saw the tree of the year. “Christopsomo dates back to the Ottoman era and still remains part of the customary festive food that are a prominent element of Greek Christmas traditions,” Karamanes explains. As most of the Greeks are Orthodox, they passionately celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25 and associate a strong religious meaning to this day. Greece has been an oasis of non-commercialism when it comes to Christmas, though some lament that this has changed. According to Karamanes, for the next few decades Christmas trees were only seen in upper-class households and the custom only became widely popular after World War II. Vasilopita, translating to Saint Basil’s pie, is a traditional dessert made for New Year’s Day. Some local festivals still include representations of these entities, which may be a survival from Dionysian festivals. During the Christmas holidays one would see pomegranates in Christmas decorations and hanging on the doors of houses. In some regions, it is common to make cabbage leaf rolls filled with pork accompanied by celery or spinach. Think: putting up Christmas tree decorations with unique Christmas tree toppers, baking holiday cookies, and watching Hallmark Christmas movies, for starters.While all of these festive activities are surefire ways to get you and your family into the holiday spirit, there are other Christmas traditions … At midnight,… Evangelos Karamanes, a research director at the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre (HFRC) at the Academy of Athens, gives his insight into the meaning and the origins behind some of the most deep-rooted Greek Christmas traditions. Carrying a boat is a very old custom in the Greek Islands. Most of the Christmas traditions in Greece are more or less similar to the West. In addition to a small amount of money, the lady of the house usually offers the children a sweet treat (normally a traditional melomakarono or kourabie). In Greece there are two ways in which the festival of Christmas is celebrated one is religious and conventional, the second one is glamorous. During the slaughter, families followed a ritual, ending by painting a pig’s blood cross on children’s heads to protect them from headaches. Greek … Priests throw a cross into the sea, river or lake and a group of men jump into the water to recover it. Mischievous and even dangerous sprites called the Kallikantzaroi (or Callicantzari ), prey upon people only during the twelve days of Christmas, between Christmas itself and Epiphany on January 6th. On Epiphany, the ceremonial blessing of the waters by the local priest was believed to settle the nasty creatures until the next year. 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