Investing Christmas in Greece
If you will be traveling to Greece at Christmas, it’s good to remember that numerous workplaces, organizations, dining establishments, and other amenities may be closed or keeping unusual hours during the holiday season. Turkey is a huge part of Greek Christmas food custom-mades, and it prevails to find this bird on the majority of Greek Christmas tables. In some locations, the holiday is preceded by a time of fasting. In Greece, the Christmas season remains in full swing by December sixth, the Banquet of St. Nicholas, when presents are exchanged, and lasts through January 6th, the Banquet of Epiphany.
Christmas Displays in Greece
In basic, don’t expect as lots of Christmas screens, lights, or other Western decorations, other than of course in the windows of expatriates and the ever-increasing variety of Greeks who have actually embraced Western custom-mades. Greece has been an oasis of non-commercialism when it concerns Christmas, though some lament that this has actually altered. In the last few years, the City of Athens has sponsored extensive Christmas screens and events in Syntagma Square and elsewhere in Athens. However, as the government crisis unfolded and stuck around, events have stayed somewhat reduced as Greece tries to recover from its monetary crisis.
Christmas in Greece is typically a solemn, religious vacation. Stunning Christmas carols called kalandas have actually been bied far from Byzantine times and contribute to the reverent quality of the event.
Greek Christmas Fairy Lore
While other cultures have Christmas elves, the Greek equivalent is not so benign. Naughty and even hazardous sprites called the Kallikantzaroi(or Callicantzari ), prey upon people just during the twelve days of Christmas, in between Christmas itself and Surprise on January 6th. Descriptions of them vary, and in one location they are thought to use wood or iron boots, the much better to kick people, while other areas insist that they are hooved, not booted. Almost invariably male, other areas see in them the forms of wolves or perhaps monkeys. In folktales, the twelve days of their power figure in a “wicked stepmother” story where a girl is required to stroll alone to a mill through the twelve days because her stepmother is hoping that the Kallikantzaroiwill nab her away. The
Greek Yule Log
Some households keep fires burning through the twelve days, to keep the spirits from going into by the chimney, which is an intriguing inversion of the visit of Santa Claus in other nations. The “yule log” in this case at first was an enormous log set on end in the chimney, burning or at least smoldering for the entire vacation duration. Protective herbs such as hyssop, thistle, and asparagus were suspended by the fireplace, to keep the Kallikantzaroiaway. Other homes (maybe less devout) were reduced to easy bribery and would put meat out for the Kallikantzaroi— a more significant snack than the milk and cookies Westerners typically put out for Santa. On Surprise, the ritualistic blessing of the waters by the local priest was thought to settle the nasty creatures till the next year. Some local festivals still include representations of these entities, which may be a survival from Dionysian celebrations.
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