Each tradition has its personal distinctive, generally quirky, customs and traditions.
Greece is not any exception and appears to have greater than its justifiable share of Christmas and New 12 months celebrations.
The twelve days of Christmas finish on the sixth of January with the celebration of the Epiphany, or as it’s known as in Greek Theophania or Ton Foton
The Greek Santa Claus just isn’t Saint Nicholas, however Saint Basil (Vasilis), who’s Greek and faithfully comes every week late; New Years eve.
Saint Vassilis or Agios Vassilis has a lot in frequent with Saint Nicholas; the Western Santa Claus; Santa Claus.
Each are identified for his or her compassion, kindness and their dedication to serving to the much less lucky, each deliver presents round Christmas time, one just a bit later than the opposite.
Christmas bushes have been launched to Greece within the 1830s by King Otto, however didn’t actually turn out to be well-liked till across the Nineteen Forties.
The Greek equal of the Christmas tree is the ‘karavaki’ or Christmas boat, a beautiful custom that after falling out of favor I am blissful to say is making a comeback…massive time!
For the observant Orthodox Greek, the forty-day quick main as much as Christmas, generally known as Introduction, ends on Christmas Day with the breaking of the ‘Christopsomo‘ – Greek bread of Christ, which was baked the day earlier than, on Christmas Eve.
Beneath are 15 of the preferred Greek New 12 months customs and traditions:
1. Ta Kalanda (Carol sings)
Kids are recent and early to sing kalanda – Greek carol on three particular days of Christmas: Christmas Eve, New 12 months’s Eve and Epiphany; (January 5).
They go from home to deal with, normally singing solely the identical tune, accompanied by a triangle that rattled randomly with no melody in any respect!
Earlier than they begin singing, they are going to knock in your door and shout “Na ta poume?” means “We could sing?”.
2. Card recreation
Since New Years is taken into account a fortunate time, it is the right excuse for a card recreation marathon, and I imply marathon!
The video games final for hours, beginning early within the night and lasting till midnight, normally at house, however there are organized video games in “Kafenion” (café) and golf equipment.
3. Pomegranate smashes
A pomegranate, an historical image of prosperity and luck, hangs over the door all through Christmas.
At midnight, on New 12 months’s Eve, the lights are extinguished and the pomegranate is then thrown on the ground or on the door, the place it smashes and spills its seeds.
The extra seeds the higher!
This helps guarantee luck, well being, happiness and prosperity for the approaching 12 months.
4. The massive onion
Now it is a customized I hadn’t heard of and neither had MGG (My Greek God), however after I noticed an image of the skeletoura (Squill, sea onion) I spotted I had seen them hanging round in Greek homes at New 12 months, normally with the bulb half wrapped in foil.
A big onion, skeletoura or sea onion, utilized by historical Greeks to worship Pan, the God of nature and nature, is hung over the door.
This bulb, even when uprooted, will proceed to develop layers and bloom; it’s stated to have magical powers and is the image of rebirth.
At midnight it’s taken down, and within the morning the household’s kids are tapped on the pinnacle with it to wake them up to allow them to attend the service for Saint Vassilis!
Properly I by no means!
This onion is stored in the home till the subsequent New 12 months to deliver longevity, well being and luck.
5. Renewal of the water
One other customized I’m not accustomed to; on New 12 months’s Day, all water jugs in the home are emptied and full of “Saint Vassili’s” water” or “Saint Basil’s water”
I did not get round to studying what Saint Basil’s water really is, MGG is past ineffective in terms of questions like this, the next is what I found myself.
Saint Basil’s water is solely water collected on Saint Basil’s Day, generally blessed by a priest, some say that is accomplished to maintain evil spirits away from the home.
The ceremony is commonly accompanied by giving choices or presents to the Naiads (Water Nymphs).
6. The furry or mossy pebble
Issues are getting weirder by the minute!
This custom I’ve heard about, it really means a stone coated with moss or relying on who you ask, it ought to solely be moist.
A stone, ideally coated with moss, is collected from a seashore, a river, a pond, just about wherever there may be water, taken house and left exterior the door.
Right here issues turn out to be fairly unclear once more, some say, the stone have to be positioned inside the home.
If you enter the home for the primary time on New 12 months’s Day, you need to step on the stone.
This supposedly brings good luck.
7. Kalo Podariko (First foot)
No confusion with this one, I imagine it’s practiced in lots of international locations world wide, it’s positively within the UK.
On the stroke of midnight, an individual thought-about fortunate, or a toddler, on account of the truth that they’re pure and harmless, is distributed exterior and ordered to return in, proper foot first, to deliver good luck to it following 12 months.
All home windows are thrown open to let loose Kallikantzaroi, evil spirits or mischievous Santas.
8. Kali Hera (good hand)
That is the observe of giving cash to kids; nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and many others., who could also be current after midnight on New 12 months’s Eve or New 12 months’s Day after they come to go to.
9. Vassilopita (Greek New 12 months’s cake)
Each Greek household has its vasilopita, the New 12 months’s cake that hides a fortunate coin.
After midnight, the Vassilopita is reduce into slices and handed over by the pinnacle of the household.
A cross is positioned over the floor, the primary disk is for Jesus Christ, the second for the Virgin Mary, the third for Saint Vassilis, the fourth for the home after which a disk for every member of the household, beginning with the eldest.
Whoever finds the fortunate coin can have good luck for the remainder of the 12 months.
10. Agios Vassilis – Saint Basil (Greek Santa Claus)
Ho Ho Ho, it is New 12 months’s Eve and Santa Claus has arrived along with his sack filled with presents.
Though he has a special identify and arrives every week later, Agios Vassilis appears to be like lots like Christmas!
Like Saint Nicholas, that’s; a cheerful, red-clad, plump fellow, with a protracted white beard.
11. Greek candy Christmas treats
It would not be Christmas with out conventional Greek Christmas sweets, one thing deliciously candy and fattening!
The same old sweets are snowy kourabiethes; Greek Christmas cookies full of almonds and sprinkled with icing sugar.
Melomakarana; Gooey candy and drenched in honey, with a touch of spicy cloves.
diples; skinny strips of dough, folded and fried, sprinkled with chopped nuts and honey.
And naturally baklava, layers of phyllo dough, full of chopped nuts, coated in candy syrup.
12. Feeding the fountain
In Thessaly, central Greece, on Christmas Eve at midnight, in full silence, younger girls go to the closest fountain or spring to gather ‘measureless water’.
Whereas making a want to guarantee a candy 12 months forward, the younger girls ‘feed’ butter or honey to spring.
The woman who comes first within the spring can have essentially the most luck.
13. The Flaming Yew
A Christmas and New 12 months’s customized in Epirus, northern Greece,
On their means within the black of night time, to go to the child Jesus, the three kings gathered dry yew branches, lit them and used them as torches to gentle the best way.
Immediately in small villages in Epirus folks can nonetheless be seen at Christmas time strolling round with a flaming yew department and wishing everybody a Merry Christmas.
14. Marriage of Hearth
On Christmas Eve in Edessa in northern Greece, locals collect branches of wooden, ladies taking wooden from feminine bushes, comparable to cherry, and the boys from a male tree, a type of thorny thorn tree known as Vatos.
The branches are positioned within the hearth within the type of a cross and lit.
Relying on how the wooden burns, quick or sluggish, with or with out flames, noisy or silent, somebody with information of the customized can predict how the approaching 12 months will go, whether or not the crops will do effectively or not, what the climate will likely be like and basically taken if will probably be a very good 12 months.
In Thessaly, central Greece, the women burn cedar wooden after they return from church, and the boys wild cherries. The one who burns first is the one who will get married first.
15. Spordisma (Burning of leaves)
On the island of Thassos, burning embers are faraway from the hearth and positioned on a heat-resistant floor.
Then as you would like, unfold olive or oak leaves over the recent embers.
The one whose leaves curl essentially the most can have his want granted.
Merry Christmas and a Completely happy New 12 months!
And there you might have it, Christmas and New 12 months’s Greek type.
I want everybody a really Merry Christmas and a Completely happy New 12 months and thanks for studying my weblog, which with out you all wouldn’t exist!