Experience the unforgettable life of Greece Christmas with its local traditions, religious customs and festive spirit.
What you think about your Christmas holiday and winter holiday? Greece is a unique spot for Christmas celebration theme. If you still haven’t decided where to spend this year’s Christmas holidays, Greece will offer you amongst the most unforgettable holidays of your life! Even if Greece may not represent a classical destination for Christmas holidays, you will be surprised to experience its local traditions, religious customs and festive spirit.The Christmas Holidays in Greece begins on December 6th, which is Saint Nicolas day, and ends on January 6th, the day of Epiphany. The patron saint of the holiday is Saint Nicolas, who is also the protector of sailors, for this reason, you will often see boats decorated with many sparkling lights, among with the traditional Christmas trees. Crete island is most famous in Greece for Christmas activities. Many Christmas activities and excursions, including New Year Program will be organised at grand level in Crete, Greece.
Read the following point to know about Christmas celebration, tradition and activities during the Christmas holiday season-
Christmas Holiday In Greece
Most importantly, Christmas in Greece is celebrated through innumerable gatherings of friends and family around the holy holiday table, wishing one another “Hronia Polla!” meaning “I wish you many happy years!” around a great and delicious variety of home cooked meals and sweet delicacies.Traditional food includes the Christmas bread called “Christopsomo”, sweets such as “Melomakarona”, “Kourabiedes” or “Diples”. The traditional Christmas day feast usually includes a stuffed turkey, lamb or roasted pork with cabbage and potatoes. On New Year’s Day, the day of St Basil (Agios Vasilis) name feast, Greeks “cut” their Vasilopita, a cake where a coin covered in foil is placed before it is baked. Each person present, usually family and friends, receives a part of the cake and whoever gets the coin in his piece of cake, will have a new year full of luck.
In major cities and towns of Greece, dazzling decorations are made with brilliant lights strung across most of the streets. Shops are decorated with all the usual Christmas ornaments, and the festive mood is apparent.Except from the common to all western countries trees decorations, you will also witness one of the most beautiful and striking spectacle that represent the boats which are decorated with lights in order to honor St Nicolas.
Christmas Shopping in Greece
Christmas shopping in Greece is an absolute delight. Streets are packed with people buying Christmas gifts for their loved ones, as well as Christmas carolers singing Christmas songs. Since gifts are traditionally given on New Year’s Eve, Christmas shopping in Greece continues way after the 25 th of December. Shops are decorated with all the usual Christmas ornaments, and an upbeat atmosphere is apparent as you walk along the streets and in the shops. Therefore, Xmas shopping in Greece isn’t just shopping. It’s a festive experience!
Christmas Festivities in Greece
A number of rituals are associated with the observance of the festival in Greece. One well-known custom is hanging a sprig of basil wrapped around a wooden cross in a shallow wooden bowl. Once during the day, a family member, usually the mother, dips the cross and basil into some holy water and uses it to sprinkle water in each room of the house. This ritual is believed to keep the ‘Killantzaroi’ (mischievous spirits) away. Another ritual performed to get the same benefit is keeping the hearth burning at all times throughout the twelve days. Gift-giving takes place on St. Basil’s Day (January 1). On this day all water jugs in the house are emptied and refilled with new “St. Basil’s Water.” The ritual is known as the “renewal of waters”.
Christmas Food in Greece
Christmas, like many other holidays in Greece, is a time for feasting. In the past years, Christmas turkey has become very popular as the main dish of the holiday. Traditionally, the main course of Christmas dinner in Greece is roast pork, with a variety of side delicacies. No matter what the main dish is, one thing is certain: Christmas food in Greece is delicious! Melomakarona and kourabiedes are the two varieties of Christmas and New Year’s cookies in Greece. The first are semolina, cinnamon, and clove cookies drenched in honey, while the second are rosewater and fresh butter cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar that are normally served on New Year’s but many succumb to temptation and begin consuming them earlier.
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