Leading 15 Greek Christmas and New Year Customs and Traditions

Christmas in Greece. Painting Nikiforos Lytras Photo slideshare netChristmas in Greece. Painting Nikiforos Lytras Photo slideshare net

< img src =" https://i0.wp.com/greekerthanthegreeks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/christmas-in-greece-1-728.jpg?resize=550%2C413&ssl=1 "alt="Christmas in Greece. Painting Nikiforos Lytras Picture slideshare net"width= "550 "height= "413"/ > Christmas in Greece. Painting Nikiforos Lytras. Photo slideshare net Every culture has its own distinct, sometimes quirky, customizeds and traditions. Greece is no exception and appears to have more than its fair share of Christmas and New Year celebrations, Greek Dad Christmas is not Saint Nicholas, however Saint Basil(

or

Statue of Saint Nicholas of Bari in the church of San Francisco in the historic town Betanzos, Galicia, Spain. Saint Nicholas is holding three balls of gold, that represent the legend of the dowry he gave to three unmarried girls.Statue of Saint Nicholas of Bari in the church of San Francisco in the historic town Betanzos, Galicia, Spain. Saint Nicholas is holding three balls of gold, that represent the legend of the dowry he gave to three unmarried girls.

Vasilis), being Greek and real to form, he shows up late, a week late; on New Year’s Eve. Statue of Saint Nicholas of Bari in the church of San Francisco, in Betanzos, Galicia, Spain, holding three balls of gold, which represent the legend of the

dowry he gave to three single women. Saint Vassilis, or Agios Vassilis, has much in typical with Saint Nicholas; Both are known for their compassion, kind heartedness and their dedication to assisting the unfortunate, both bring

gifts around Christmas Time, one, simply a little later than the other. Christmas trees were introduced to Greece in the 1830s by King Otto, however didn’t really become popular up until about the 1940s. The Greek equivalent of the Christmas tree is the’karavaki’, or Christmas boat, a wonderful custom

, which after falling out of favour, I’m pleased to state, is rebounding … huge time! For the observant Orthodox Greek, the forty day fast, for Christmas, referred to as the introduction quick, ends on Christmas day, with the breaking of ‘Christopsomo’, Christ’s bread, which was baked the day before, on Christmas Eve.

Here’s a list of 15 most popular Greek New Year custom-mades and customs:

1. Ta Kalanda (Carol singing)

Greek Kalanda singers 1950s

Greek Kalanda vocalists 1950s Kids are up and about, intense and early on New Year’s Eve and go from house to house, singing the KALANDA, Greek Christmas Carols, typically only the one, exact same tune, accompanied by a triangle.

2. Card playing

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne–” The Card Players”As New Year is thought about a fortunate time, it’s the best excuse for a card-playing marathon, and I mean marathon! The games go on for hours, beginning early evening, and lasting till midnight, generally in the house, however there are organised video games in the “Kafenion” (Coffeehouse) and clubs.

3. Pomegranate smashing

Pomegranate - Gatya Kelly

Pomegranate– Gatya Kelly A POMEGRANATE, an ancient symbol of prosperity and all the best, is hung above the door throughout Christmas. At midnight, on New Year’s Eve, the lights are ended up and the pomegranate is then tossed to the flooring, or at the door, where it smashes, spilling out its seeds, the more seeds the better! This helps make sure luck, health, happiness and prosperity for the coming year. 4. The big onion Squill or Sea Onion– Skeletoura- in Greek, The Big Onion! Now this is a custom-made I had actually declined, neither had MGG( My Greek God), but, on seeing a picture of the skeletoura,(Squill, sea onion ), I understood I had actually seen them hanging about in Greek homes, at New Year, usually with the bulb part wrapped in foil. A big onion, skeletoura, Scilla Maritima, the squill bulb or sea onion, used by Greeks in ancient times to praise Pan, God of the wilds and of nature, is hung above the door.

This onion, even when rooted out, will continue to grow layers and blossom; it’s said to have wonderful powers and is the symbol of renewal.

At midnight, it is removed, and in the morning, the children of the household are whacked on the head with it, in order to wake them up, so they can attend the church service for Saint Vassilis!

Well I never!

This onion is kept in your house till the next New Year, to bring durability, health and luck.

5. The Renewal of Waters

Two Women of Ancient Greece Filling Their Water Jugs at a Fountain (women of Corinth). Painting by Henry Ryland

2 Ladies of Ancient Greece Filling Their Water Jugs at a Fountain( ladies of Corinth). Painting by Henry Ryland Another custom I’m not knowledgeable about, on New Year’s Day, all water jugs in your house are emptied and refilled with”Saint Vassili’s “water “or “Saint Basil’s water “I didn’t manage to learn what Saint Basil’s water actually is, MGG is more than ineffective when it concerns like this, the following is what I discovered for myself. Saint Basil’s water, is just water collected on Saint Basil’s Day, often blessed by a priest, some say this is done to keep fiends far from your house. The ceremony is frequently accompanied by offering

offerings or presents to Naiads (Water nymphs ). 6. The Hairy or Mossy Pebble

Mossy pebbles

Things are ending up being complete stranger by the minute!

This, I have heard of, it really indicates a stone covered with moss, or, depending upon who you ask, it just requires to be wet.

A stone, ideally covered with moss, is gathered from a beach, a river, a pond, essentially anywhere there is water, taken house, and left outside the door.

Here, once again, things end up being rather unclear, some state, the stone is to be put inside your house.

On entering your home for the first time, on New Year’s Day, you must step on the stone.

This, supposedly, brings luck and good fortune.

7. Kalo Podariko (First footing)

First Footing

Very first Footing No confusion with this one, I think it’s practiced in many nations throughout the world, it definitely is in Britain.

At the stroke of midnight, somebody thought about lucky, or a child, due to the reality they are pure and innocent, are sent out outdoors and ordered to re-enter, best foot first, to bring all the best for the following year.

All windows are tossed open up to let out the Kallikantzaroi, fiends, or mischievous Christmas goblins.

8. Kali Hera (Good Hand)

Kali Hera – Good hand

Kali Hera– Excellent hand This is the practice of offering money to children; nieces, nephews, grandchildren and so on who may be present after midnight on New Year’s Eve, or, on New Year’s Day when they come to check out.

9. The Vassilopita (Greek Brand-new Year’s cake)

Vassilopita – Greek New Year cake

Vassilopita– Greek New Year cake Every Greek family has its VASSILOPITA, the New Year’s cake, concealing a fortunate coin. After midnight, the Vassilopita is sliced and handed round by the head of the family. A cross is scored over the surface area, the very first piece is for Jesus Christ, the 2nd for The Virgin Mary, the third for Saint Vassilis, the fourth for the house and after that, for each family member, beginning with the earliest. Whoever finds the lucky coin has

all the best and good fortune for the remainder of the year. 10. Agios Vassilis– Saint Basil(Greek Santa Claus)< img

src =”image/gif; base64, R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP/// yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″alt=”Agios Vassilis– Greek Santa Claus”width=” 453″height =”580″/ > Agios Vassilis– Greek Santa Claus Ho Ho Ho, it’s New Years ‘Eve,

and Santa’s shown up with his sack filled with presents. Although he has a various name, and

shows up a week later, Agios Vassilis looks a lot like Christmas! Like SAINT NICHOLAS that is, a jolly,

red-clad, chubby chap, sporting a long white beard. 11. Greek Sugary food Christmas deals with Standard Greek Christmas Sugary Foods It would not be Christmas without conventional, Greek Christmas sugary foods, something deliciously sweet and fattening! The normal sugary foods are, in fact, I would say, always rather than typical, snowy kourabiethes, Greek Christmas cookies, filled with almonds and drenched in icing sugar.

Melomakarana, Sticky sweet and drenched in honey, with a tang of spicy cloves.

Diples, thin strips of dough, folded and fried, sprinkled with sliced nuts and honey.

And, naturally, baklava, layers of phyllo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, covered in sweet syrup.

12. Feeding the Fountain

Spring water - Kalarrytes - Ioannina -Photo by Dimtze on flickr

Sparkling water– Kalarrytes– Ioannina-Picture by Dimtze on flickr In Thessaly, main Greece, on Christmas Eve, at the stroke of midnight, young women make their way, in complete silence, to the nearest water fountain or spring, to gather’speechless water’

. Whilst making a dream, to ensure a sweet year ahead, the young women ‘feed’ butter or honey to the spring.

The lady, who shows up first at the spring, will have the most luck.

13. The Flaming Yew

Burning branches – Photo © Rui Almeida Photography

Burning branches– Photo © Rui Almeida Photography A Christmas and New

Year custom in Epirus, Northern Greece, On their way, in the black of night, to visit baby Jesus, the 3 kings, collected dry yew branches, set them alight, and utilized them as torches to light the way.

Today, in little towns of Epirus, individuals can still be seen at Christmas time, walking about with a flaming yew branch, wishing a merry Christmas to one and all.

14. The marital relationship of Fire

Burning wood – the marriage of fire Greek Christmas custom Photo by szefi on flickr

Burning wood– the marriage of fire. Greek Christmas custom-made Picture by szefi on flickr On Christmas Eve in Edessa, Northern Greece, residents collect branches of wood, women take wood from female trees, such as cherry, and the young boys, from a male tree, a sort of thorny briar wood called Vatos, the branches are laid in the fireplace, in the shape of a cross, and set alight.

Depending upon how the wood burns, rapidly, or gradually, with or without flames, noisily or silently, somebody with the understanding of the custom-made, can predict how the year ahead will end up, if the crops will do well, how the weather condition will be, and, in general, whether it will be a great year.

In Thessaly, main Greece, on returning from church, girls burn cedar wood, and the kids, wild cherry, whoever’s branch burns first, is the one who shall wed first.

15. Spordisma (The burning of leaves)

Olive leaves

Olive leaves On the island of Thassos, burning cinders are removed from the fire and put onto a heat– evidence surface, then, whilst making a wish, olive, or oak leaves, are topped the hot embers.

The one whose leaves curl the most, will have their wish come true.

The twelve days of Christmas end on the sixth of January with the event of Epiphany, or, as it’s hired GreekTheophania or, Lot Foton

And there you have the makings of Christmas and New Year; Greek design!

To one and all, I want you an extremely Merry Christmas, and a Pleased New Year!

See more incredible Greek Christmas Traditions at links listed below:

Greek Christmas custom-mades & customs: Kallikantzaroi(Christmas goblins)Greek Christmas Customs & Traditions: Vasilopita, Greek New Year’s Cake Kalanda: Carol Singing– Greek Christmas Traditions Recipes— Standard Greek Christmas Sweets and Desserts– kourabiedes– Melomakarona– Diples

— Baklava– Christopso Related

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Pullovers

Christmas Pullovers

Christmas Dresses

Christmas Dresses

Christmas Jewelry