Christmas in Greece
by Chrysoula Leventi
Christmas is the most magical time of year. In Christmas everybody enjoys the warm atmosphere from getting together with other members in their family and celebrate because Jesus Christ come to bring people in this Earth hope, peace, and joyfulness.
In Greece the Christmas season begins on December 6th, which is Saint Nicolas day, and ends on January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany.
Saint Nicolas is the protector of sailors. For this reason, you will often see boats decorated with many sparkling lights, rather than the Christmas trees.
Greece is a country where traditions and customs are a part of everyday life. Most holidays in Greece are celebrated traditionally, and Christmas in no exception. Christmas caroling is very popular, and although you might hear them being sung at any given moment during the holiday season, there are actually three «official» caroling days. The custom is that children go from house to house singing the carol, with the accompaniment of a triangle, and residents of the houses give them a small amount of money. Greek Christmas carols are sung on the mornings of Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany.
Furthermore according to tradition, during the days of Christmas goblins come out to tease people and eat their food. This tradition is based on the legend that the «waters aren’t christened» since Christ has not yet been baptized. The goblins are renowned for their ugliness and their impishness. They are not very intelligent and can’t really hurt anybody. It is said that they enter houses through chimneys, and this is the reason people, especially in villages, keep the fireplace lit during the 12 days of Christmas.
As far as Christmas food and sweets is concerned, in Greece is everything delicious!
Vasilopita is a cake that is eaten on New Year’s Day. Before the cake is baked, a coin covered in foil is placed in it. The New Year is written on top of the cake with almonds. The person who cuts the cake makes the sign of the cross three times above it and then starts serving the pieces, one to each person, the house, Christ, The Virgin Mary and Saint Vasileios. Whoever has the coin in his piece of cake will have luck for the rest of the year.