Despite the festival of Christmas is celebrated across the world to enjoy the happiness of Lord Jesus’s birth, but the spirit with which it is celebrated in Greece is not found in any corner of the world. Although, here also you will find the buildings, churches, markets, parks, and every place decorated exclusively to enjoy the festivities of the festival. But the way it is celebrated in Greece is quite different from other regions.
In Greece there are two ways in which the festival of Christmas is celebrated one is religious and conventional, the second one is glamorous. 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. Anyway, both these ways of celebrating have their own charisma and fun.
The one-month celebration of Christmas begin from December 6, celebrated as Saint Nicolas and ends on January 6, with a Feast of the Epiphany. The main celebrations get momentum with each passing day, especially from December 20, when the main day is just a few step ahead.
The tradition of Christmas in Greece:
Being one of the ancient countries, the shadow of ancient practices can be witnessed in day to day life of every person in Greece, and therefore the celebration of Christmas is not an exception to it. Like the rest of the world, the Christmas Carols (Kalanda) are sung throughout the whole month. However, there are three main days when the Carols are sung with full enthusiasm. As a custom, the group of small children visit every house or shop in their locality singing the Carols and the people give them a small sum of money. The three main days on which these Carols are sung specifically are the morning of Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 6, the Eve of the Feast Epiphany.
During the 12 days of Christmas (from December 25 to January 6) it is believed that goblins will come out annoy the people and take away food from them. The goblins are normally naughty people they do not harm the people and not intelligent. They move inside the house from the chimneys and therefore people, mainly in the village keep the fireplace of their house keep burning during all the 12 days of the festival.
There are lots of regions in the country where people hang a pomegranate at the entrance gate of their house and let it dry by the arrival of the New Year. On the morning of the 1 January, they throw the pomegranate on the ground to break in such a way that its pieces move inside the house on the toe of their right foot. It is believed by doing this they will enjoy good luck throughout the year.
Food During Christmas in Greece:
The arrival of the festival not only brings smile and happiness all around, but it also allows you to party with your dear ones. And when it is Christmas the parties are in full momentum. It is the time when different types of dishes are made by people to welcome their guests. The roast pork decorated with lots of delicacies is the traditional dinner served in most of the Greek houses even today, apart from other dishes. However, the turkey is also regarded as the main dish served during the festival. Well whatever food is cooked to celebrate the festival, one thing is sure it is delicious and mouth-watering.
Some of the major dishes cooked during Christmas are:
This special bread is cooked on the eve of Christmas. Before baking a cross is grooved on the top crust. On the morning of Christmas, the head of the family creates the mark of a cross on the loaf of the bread, and cuts it in different pieces according to the number of members in his family and distributes its slices to each of them equally.
These are two types of cookies eaten mainly on Christmas and New Year respectively. The Melomakarona cookie has a mixture of semolina, cinnamon, and clove mixed in honey.
The ingredients used for cooking Kourabiedes are rose water, fresh butter, and powdered sugar. This delicious cookie is mainly served on New Year, but there are lots of people who start eating it even before the New Year, as soon as it is ready after cooking.
It is a special cake eaten mainly on New Year. It is coin covered in foil kept inside it before the baking. The top of the cake has New Year written on it and decorated with almonds. Before eating a person cutting the cake makes the mark of the cross three times on the cake and then serve them to others for eating. It would be interesting to know that before sharing the cake among the people present at the place, the first four pieces of the cake are taken out in the names of the house, Christ, The Virgin Mary, and Saint Vasileious. The person who receives the cake with a coin hidden is believed to enjoy good luck throughout the year.