Greece. The “feeding of the water spring” bears close similarities to another Greek tradition, which takes place every spring or summer (depending on the region). Decorated ships are an old tradition in Greece where small ships were put up in homes when sailors had returned from sea voyages. Traditions is a family business that has been open for 26 years acquiring a reputation for knowledge, selection and service! It’s easier to see artificial lights and decorations rather than candles; Christmas trees over the Greek boat or karavaki, and massive references to Santa in shops and on TV. These traditions are also celebrated by other Latin American Christians and some American Latinx populations. Tió de Nadal is made from a hollow log, with stick legs, a smile, and a red hat. Traditional culinary delights that characterize the Christmas season in Greece are melomakarona (honey cookies with nuts) and kourabiedes (sugar cookies with almonds) and the Christopsomo or ‘Christ bread’ (special decorated loaf of various shapes). According to Greek tradition, his clothes are drenched with brine, his beard drips with seawater, and his face is covered with perspiration because he has been working hard against the waves to reach sinking ships and rescue them from the angry sea. Every shop window and every home has platters of both “Melomakarona” – a soft and spicy cookie with honey syrup and walnuts – and “Kourabiedes” – butter cookies dusted with snowy clouds of icing sugar. Christmas Carols. Whether you’re just visiting for the Christmas holidays or you find yourself settling into ex-pat life in France, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with some of France ’s most interesting Christmas traditions.. With normal Christmas traditions such as advent calendars and the standard Christmas Eve gift-giving rituals, some French Christmas traditions are quite familiar and global. Massive travel, easy access to worldwide media, and globalization have standardized and spread many traditions from the Occidental world. In the Greek tradition, ... and traditions have changed little over the centuries. It’s easier to see artificial lights… Many Greek recipes are prepared in all parts of the country, but each area is known for its unique variations. 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According to one story, the tradition comes from his life, when an emperor had put a large tax during a time of great famine. Christmas Traditions Around the World. Greek Christmas Traditions – a Unique Celebration of the Holidays. Greece Spain is a country full of Christmas traditions, and some of them may surprise you. On Christmas Eve, children go out to sing carols in the street. Miraculously everyone received in their bread their own belongings that they had paid as tax. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Every culture has its own unique, sometimes quirky, customs and traditions. Preparing for the day of Agios Vasilis is like preparing for Christmas elsewhere, with lots of shopping for the perfect gift. And in some households, children break one in the entrance to the house for good luck. But the showpiece is the “Vasilopita” – the pie of St.Vasilis. The tradition of placing a delicate, white crown on top of the bride and groom’s head was said to originate in the 11th century and is still one of the most important Greek wedding traditions. And of course, the eye cham as protection against the evil eye is always popular as well. 51. Chimborazo, Two Doctors Die in Avalanche on Greece’s Mount Olympus, Greek-American Skier Makes Comeback; Wins Historic Points for Greece. Christmas traditions vary across the world, from roller skating in Venezuela to pints of Guinness left out for Santa in Ireland. Agios Vasilis is associated with generosity through many legends. The first known Christmas tree in Greece was put up by King Otto 1833 next to a large decorated boat, which families traditionally erected to celebrate men's return from sea voyages. They feature in many Christmas pageants at schools. Christmas is usually celebrated with family and in the privacy of people’s homes. The decorated ships may be large, handcrafted, fully lit, wooden structures set up as elaborate yard displays or several smaller ships decorated as table centerpieces. Please let me know if you know of others that belong here. These Unique Family Traditions Are so … However, some traditions are unique to the local Christmas experience, let’s take a look at some of them. Christmas is all about delicious food, shared with your friends, family and loved ones! One of the things that really sets Christmas in Greece apart is the fact that gifts are not a big feature of the holiday. Stefana crowns. From early in the morning, you will see parties of friends with musical instruments visiting the neighborhoods. Decorated Boats in Greece However, this is not to say that Christmas isn’t widely celebrated with unique traditions. The most surprising difference about Christmas in Greece is that they only began decorating Christmas trees in recent years. Christmas celebration is Greece have gotten glamours over the years and the Christmas holiday period lasts 12 days in Greece and includes Christmas, New Year and Epiphany. Made solely of ingredients sourced locally, these scrumptious delicacies have, according to Karamanes, been part of Greek tradition since antiquity. Philippines We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. The first woman who gets to the fountain is blessed with lots of good luck for the rest of the year. Most of the Christmas traditions in Greece are more or less similar to the West. On Christmas Eve, it's customary for Greek families to prepare a rustic sweetbread called Christopsomo (meaning “Christ's bread”). Family traditions is the glue that cements families together and the moments you’ll all cherish for a lifetime. Of course, gingerbread houses have also joined the sweet scene. In some non-Christian areas, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g. And a visit to Church is also central to the holiday celebration. In Greek Orthodox tradition, sesame baklava is baked on Christmas Eve while Christopsomo is the bread baked on Christmas Day (it means. According to the Greek version of the universal myth of evil spirits, our world connects to the underworld through a tree. Children Sing Kalanta. One Greek Christmas tradition is the singing of kalandas or kalantas, Christmas carols. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Turkey is a big part of Greek Christmas food customs, and it is common to find this bird on most Greek Christmas tables. Some of these are traditional only to Cyprus, but the majority stem from Greek culture, and have been adopted … The Greeks bake a lot of sweet filo pastry dishes like baklava, kataifi and theeples. Water is another element important in Christmas traditions in Greece. From the wire hangs a cross wrapped in a sprig of basil. Unlike the huge array of Christmas cookies that one sees in many nations, the Greek Christmas features mainly just two cookies. On top of the list, it’s Christmas. This is because it is not Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas that brings presents, but Saint Basil – “Agios Vasilis” – and his feast day is actually January first. The season’s celebrations are as varied and unexpected as the cultures themselves, from the cagatió in Catalonia, Spain to decorating boats for Christmas in Greece. Usually, the celebration of Christmas in Greece spread over 12 days starting from Christmas day and continues to 6 th January. As in Serbia, pork is the traditional roast meat of Greek tables at Christmas - turkey is a relative newcomer. And of course all the Greek Christmas treats, which every household prepares during the festive season. Here is an in-depth look at everything you need to know about Greek customs, traditions and foods during Christmas. Now, this is something that truly sets Greece apart. national lottery, Spanish Christmas has more unique customs than you'd think! There is a wide array of Greek songs for Christmas today, ranging from traditional songs of Greek music to popular alternative versions of known foreign songs and Greek funny or instrumental songs. The Big Dilemma: Should COVID-19 Vaccines be Mandatory? Christmas Traditions from Greece The festive spirit of the holidays is very much alive in a country with strong religious traditions and a deep sense of family such as Greece. It becomes a delicious centerpiece on Christmas Day. Halloween. This association of Agios Vasilis and the New Year makes New Year’s Eve in Greece much more of a family holiday than it is in other countries. A delicious collection of traditional Greek Christmas recipes! 1. Greece has some unique holiday traditions that set the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s in Greece apart. Find out the meaning behind these unique Greek wedding traditions. Easily the most outlandish Christmas tradition on this list, meet Tió de Nadal, the Christmas log. Vasilopita, the cake the Greeks share on the first day of the year is closely related to the saint. The roast stuffed turkey shares the table with some other traditional festive dishes, among them very often are “lachano dolmades” (stuffed cabbage leaves) and several types of pie with hand-rolled phyllo. Massive travel, easy access to worldwide media, and globalization have standardized and spread many traditions from the Occidental world. When households are not ready to protect themselves, the evil spirits wander freely in and out bringing distress and frustration. The observance of Christmas around the world varies by country. They go knocking on each door and sing. Christmas Stollen. How people live, work, and experience life, is one of the many things that make people and cultures unique from our own. To the members of the Greek Orthodox Church, Christmas comes in second after Easter. Greeks celebrate the 12 days of Christmas beginning on Christmas day and lasting until the Epiphany on January 6th. Christmas carols are known as Kalanta. Over the years, Greeks have included turkey in their Christmas meal. They say that one of the methods to keep the kallikantzaroi away is to keep a fireplace always lit. Keep plenty of change on hand to reward the youngsters for keeping up this tradition. A fire that, as long as it’s kept burning, will keep the evil goblins away. Of course, the traditional Christmas Tree is as beloved a decorative symbol of the season as it is elsewhere. Are Greece-Turkey Talks the Nail in the Coffin of Turkish Sanctions? We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. However, they are requested to walk towards the fountain in complete silence. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. On Christmas Eve, it’s common in Greece for children to flock from home to home in their neighborhoods to sing Greek Christmas carols, or “kalanta.”. There are many different traditions unique to Greek culture. It’s similar to a standard holiday fruit cake, but it’s sprinkled with powdered sugar and sometimes includes a zest for an extra kick. Christmas in Greece. From decorating their boats and trees, the Greeks follow many Christmas traditions. Why Greece Was Less Effective in Dealing with Covid’s Second Wave. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Here are some of the things that make the Greek holiday season special. Different Christmas traditions in Europe were always interesting to me. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Now, town squares all over Greece will often have a boat decorated with lights sharing the stage with a Christmas tree. For generations, in this nation of over 200 inhabited islands and hundreds of kilometers of mainland coast, it was the boat that symbolized Christmas. The hobgoblins are known as kallikantzari in Greek. Contemporary Greek culture and traditions are very rich and diverse, reflecting Greece's location at the crossing point where the West meets the East and the country's great and turbulent history. During the twelve days of Christmas, the young women of the village carry empty pitchers to nearby fountains and fill them with water. Melomakarona (honey cookies) and kourabiedes (sugar-coated butter cookies) are the most popular traditional Christmas desserts in Greece. Learn everything you need to know about Christmas in Greece! However, the most authentic native symbol of the holidays for Greeks is not the Christmas tree, but rather the Christmas boat. The first woman who gets to the fountain is blessed with lots of good luck for the rest of the year. Within their commonly held traditions, there are some that derive from typical Christmas festivities around the world, yet also others that are completely unique to Greece. Nowadays, groups of children also visit shops and buses. In Greece, Santa Claus is not Saint Nicholas, but Saint Basil, (Agios Vasilis) and he does not visit the Greek houses on the 25th of December, he arrives a week later, on New Year’s Day, when the Greeks traditionally exchange their Christmas presents. Throughout Christmas holidays there are several Christmas traditions that are celebrated throughout Greece. Both logs are arranged in the shape of a cross and sometimes the man of the house pronounces a marriage oath before lighting the fire. During this time, the kallikantzaroi rise to our world because Christ, not being yet baptized, cannot protect humanity from evil. Within their commonly held traditions, there are some that derive from typical Christmas festivities around the world, yet also others that are completely unique to Greece. Real pomegranates also feature in the holiday as decoration. https://goo.gl/UwxBi8 Download TONS of FREE PDF lessons to learn Greek twice as fast! On top of the list, it’s Christmas. Symbols of good luck – called ‘gouri’ – are common for the New Year. Families in Greece hung them at the front door on New Year’s Eve and then kept it in the house for the rest of the year to bring longevity, health and good luck to every person in the house. While Christmas may have begun solely as a Christian holiday, and is often still celebrated as such, people from all over the world have embraced the festive season and added their own traditions along the way. That's why I have collected some of the very best Christmas recipes, from Greek Christmas Cookie recipes, hearty Greek family dinner recipes and many more as passed on to my family for generations, for you to enjoy! Of course, after the family celebration, New Year’s Eve is celebrated as it is all around the world – with revelry late into the night with friends. These women reach the fountain carrying with them butter, cereals, or honey to please the fountain. As a religious nation, Greek Orthodox Easter is a week-long celebration that includes a series of festivities. When the pie is cut, everyone looks to see who got the coin (even absent family members have a piece cut for them), and the good luck of the coming year. It’s easier to see artificial lights… Teeth tossing in Greece: Some cultures pop children’s teeth under their pillows and wait for a swap with cold hard cash by a fairy. The first known Christmas tree in Greece was in 1833 and was set-up by King Otto next to a large decorated boat. The emperor gave all the jewelry back but no one knew what belonged to whom so Basil decided to bake the jewelry into bread and cut pieces for his people. While you will now hear many familiar Christmas songs that are part of the international holiday soundtrack. Is Covid-19 Triggering a Populist Backlash in Greece? It is stuffed with rice and very often with chestnuts. On top of the list, it’s Christmas. Another festive meal brings family and friends to the table, for another turkey or perhaps a great roast of pork or of lamb or goat surrounded by lemony potatoes and fresh herbs. I have gathered 25 seemingly strange, crazy or mad traditions from around the world. But, did you know that it is also famous for its unique traditions that are carried out during Christmas time? In current days and mostly in big cities, Christmas in Greece very much resembles the holiday celebrations from other areas in the world. Greek Christmas Guide What you need to know about Christmas Holidays in Greece. The most popular ones are the decoration of the Christmas boat, the Kalenda (Greek Christmas carols), Vasilopita, and smashing the pomegranate. The world is full of stunning Christmas traditions, weird Christmas fun facts and delicious recipes. Whether you’re looking to incorporate a new and unique tradition to your own family gathering or simply curious, these are some of our favourite Christmas traditions from continent to … I’m often asking people to describe me some unique customs typical for their countries. However, this particular tradition is now almost extinct, with a few exceptions in localities across Greece and Cyprus. Greece has some unique holiday traditions that set the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s in Greece apart. The Eptanisa as they are called in Greek (a seven-island group in the Ionian Sea) bring their own traditions to every season, Christmas included, and this Karythopita walnut spice cake is one. When it comes to German Christmas traditions, the holiday season simply isn’t complete without a nice slice of Stollen, the traditional German Christmas cake. Both Greece and Cyprus share a different tradition to the UK – instead of opening presents on Christmas Day (25th December), the exchange of gifts takes place on 1st January, St Basil’s Day. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Christmas is one of the most heartfelt celebrations in the Orthodox year and, of course, Christmas Traditions from Greece are nothing but unique to the local Christmas experience. People keep them away burning logs, incense, and even old shoes. Since the skeletoura continues to flourish after it’s been dug up, tradition places it as a symbol of eternity. are also a symbol of good luck. These are more like goblins than elves – dressed in black rather than red and green – and bent on making mischief. On Christmas Eve, kids go out and sing the carols. This quirky tradition is to be found in different corners of mainland Greece. St. Nicholas is important in Greece as the patron saint of sailors. Others throw a baby’s recently liberated tooth on their roofs. This keeps the emphasis on the birth of the baby Jesus for Christmas, which makes the holiday very special. Find a place to have your own bonfire with your children and sing carols together. During the twelve days of Christmas, the young women of the village carry empty pitchers to nearby fountains and fill them with water. A popular tradition is small village children travelling from house to house on Christmas Eve singing 'kalanda', the equivalent of Christmas carols and offering their good wishes. This sweet cake varies from house to house – some preferring a true cake, and others a sweetened rich yeasted bread more like a tsoureki. In Greek tradition, Basil's (of Caesarea) name was given to Father Christmas and is supposed to visit children and give presents on January 1 (when Basil's memory is celebrated), unlike other European traditions, where this person is Saint Nicholas and comes every Christmas. This quirky tradition is to be found in different corners of mainland Greece. They believe that he comes to their homes on the occasion of Christmas to give small gifts to the children. The Holy Week, or Megali Evdomada, is brimming with symbolic events, festivities, and traditions followed by the whole nation, though the serious business begins … Rather than a Christmas tree, many Greek homes display a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire suspended over it. A figure of the baby Jesus joins the scene on Christmas. The Nativity Scene is also a feature of most cities and towns. Most holidays in Greece are celebrated traditionally, and Christmas in no exception. However, they are requested to walk towards the fountain in complete silence. Here are some of the things that make the Greek holiday season special. Often stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions, and prunes, then spiced with mugwort and marjoram, the goose is served alongside red cabbage, dumplings, gravy and sauerkraut. According to the folk Christmas traditions, the hobgoblins are short, ugly creatures with many deformities. People gave away their jewelry to pay, but the saint called the emperor to repent and he did. One of the more popular Greek Christmas traditions is decorating ships. Greece is a maritime culture, so it’s no wonder ships are often incorporated into holiday customs. Of course, apart from the traditional blessing of the waters, many places in Greece, from small villages to large cities, observe their own, unique traditions, which are deeply rooted in ancient Greek or Byzantine practices. Many homes also have a smaller boat with lights as part of their essential holiday decor. Christmas in Greece is a special and unique experience. Traditionally one gives them some change, and if one knows the children personally, usually a more significant amount of money. "Christmas in Greece is a special time of year. Of course, this being Greece, expect a little extra verve, with plenty of music and dancing, and everyone dressed in their absolute best. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. But its introduction into Greece is more recent – many have it that King Otto introduced it in the 1830’s – an imported custom of his native Bavaria. Rather than Santa’s helpers, the whimsical small creatures associated with the holiday in Greece are Kalikantzari. So, when you’re travelling, it’s a bit hard to learn about them. Symbols of luck feature in charms and jewelry for the holidays. Roast pork is the traditional Christmas meal during Christmas in Greece. Of course, the traditional Christmas Tree is as beloved a decorative symbol of the season as it is elsewhere. After wishing their neighbors happy holidays, the children are usually rewarded with sweets, dried fruits and small change. There are a number of festive desserts including more melomakarona and kourabiedes. Christmas Traditions in Europe. 2. But the caroling tradition in Greece centers on one specific song – or actually, three – one is for Christmas eve day, one is for New Year’s Eve day, and one is for the day before the Epiphany. This is one day that many Geek families enjoy a turkey – a fowl otherwise not so commonly eaten in Greece. The traditional Greek Christmas food mainly consists of roast lamb or pork served with a spinach and cheese pie and salads/vegetables on the side. Christmas Customs in Greece are many as this holiday is vividly celebrated. We thought it would be interesting to write about some of the traditions and customs that one may come across amongst the Cypriot people. Regional Specialties . If you don't know of any place to legally hold a bonfire, then light a fire in the fireplace in honor of this tradition. Christmas traditions in Greece. These are usually first wrapped in a bag (there is nothing that stains quite as much as pomegranate juice). In Greece, a manger filled with hay and figures of Mary, Joseph, and the wise men is an important symbol of the holidays. Every evening between December 8th and Christmas Eve, the children feed the log small treats with water, and leave him under a blanket to keep him warm. Let’s travel the world together to discover them, from Portugal to the Philippines! Each day the cross is dipped into holy water and sprinkled throughout the house to ward off evil spirits known as Killantzaroi, which appear during the 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany on January 6th. Marrying the fire requires two branches, one from a tree with a feminine name and one from a tree with a masculine name. Round, they live underground and saw the tree of the list, it ’.! Customs are a number of festive desserts including more melomakarona and kourabiedes place to have own., 2021 ) Feeding the fountain carrying with them butter, cereals, or kallikantzaroi, spend their Year that! 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