The Gazebo at Kister Park - 400 block of South Main Read also: Greek Naming Tradition: how do babies take their names? Every Greek family has its VASSILOPITA, the New Year’s cake, concealing a lucky coin. In Greece, name days are more important than birthdays. Mischievous and even dangerous sprites called the Kallikantzaroi (or Callicantzari), prey upon people only during the twelve days of Christmas, between Christmas itself and Epiphany on January 6th.Descriptions of them vary, and in one area they are believed to wear … On Good Friday, the day of mourning, the Epitaphios, the tomb of Christ with its icon, decorated with flowers, is taken out of the church and carried around the village followed by a slow procession. This helps ensure luck, health, happiness and prosperity for the coming year. In Limbo: Filling in Time – Plus wonderful Quotes on the Subject by Wonderful People, Vasilopita – Greek New Year’s Cake: Greek Christmas Customs & Traditions, Ancient Greek myths surrounding the 12 signs of the zodiac, Arcadia – Greece – Nymphs, Naiads and Dryads. Different families develop their own Christmas Eve meal traditions, but if you are looking for a traditional meal to latch onto and you happen to be of French descent, consider holding a réveillon, a long dinner full of sumptuous Greek Naming Tradition: how do babies take their names. “Et in Arcadia ego”, The Greek Red & White March Bracelet – Martis – Greek Customs & Traditions, Aquarius – the Ancient Greek Myth behind the Zodiac Sign, Ancient Greek Art – 10 of the Most Innovative and Influential Ancient Greek Painters Who Still Inspire Artists Today, Draconian – Drastic Measures – Crime and Punishment in Ancient Greece. Traditional Christmas Stocking. From Epirus’s love of klarina (clarinets) and dancing the tsamiko, to guns firing, here is a look at some of the wonderful traditions that we love about Greek weddings. On the island of Thassos, burning embers are removed from the fire and put onto a heat – proof surface, then, whilst making a wish, olive, or oak leaves, are spread over the hot embers. Read also in our blog: Christmas Customs in Greece | Christmas food in Greece | Tsiknopempti.  Here, again, things become rather vague, some say, the stone is to be put inside the house. 51. Greek food relies heavily on olive oil, wine, fish, and lamb. Sometimes they will also carry model boats decorated with nuts which are painted gold. No confusion with this one, I think it’s practiced in many countries throughout the world, it certainly is in Britain. (Misbehaving children wake up with zero gifts.) Free Events. Just before midnight, all of the lights of the church are turned off, symbolizing the darkness and silent of the tomb, while the priest lights a candle from the Eternal Flame, sings the psalm Christos Anesti (meaning Christ has risen) and offers the flame to light the candles of the people. However, as soon as December arrives, festivities begin: homes are decorated, and the smell of Christmas treats is in the air. The Greeks are very superstitious and believe a lot in religion but also in supernatural or paranormal phenomenon.  At the stroke of midnight, someone considered lucky, or a child, due to the fact they are pure and innocent, are sent outside and ordered to re-enter, right foot first, to bring good luck for the following year. To one and all, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! In this case, an expert in xematiasma must tell a special pray to release the person in pain from the bad effects of the evil eye. After the wedding, these rings will be worn on the right hand. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on in modern times. Nancy Gaifyllia. Ho Ho Ho, it’s New Years’ Eve, and Santa’s arrived with his sack full of presents. Even non-Christians observe Christmas traditions such as lighting oil lamps along the perimeter of the home’s courtyard or roof. The most famous Carnival Parade takes place in the city of Patra.  After midnight, the Vassilopita is sliced and handed round by the head of the family. The tradition from Kavala roots to the period of the Ottoman Occupation of Greece. Over the years, the word 'carol' changed its meaning, referring only to certain kinds of songs, the word carol became known as Christmas songs. 20 Ancient Greek Myths About 20 Ancient Greek Flowers, Archangels Michael - Gabriel - Raphael - Fallen Angels - Lucifer, Mammon, Asmodeus - A celebration of Angels, 20 Amazing Ancient Greek Inventions Still in Use Today - The Greeks Did it First, 20 of the Funniest and Dirtiest Nonsensical Greek Wisecrack Expressions and Phrases, 20 Everyday English Phrases, Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins, Meraki - Greek Word of the Day - Doing it With Love, Passion and a Lot of Soul, 26 Famous Movies Filmed in Greece and the Greek Islands, 21 Weird Greek Superstitions - Customs and Traditions. Christmas traditions include a variety of customs, religious practices, rituals, and folklore associated with the celebration of Christmas.Many of these traditions vary by country or region, while others are universal and practiced in a virtually ubiquitous manner across the world.. On their way, in the black of night, to visit baby Jesus, the three kings, gathered dry yew branches, set them alight, and used them as torches to light  the way. 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 unmarried girls. It was gathered at both mid-summer and winter solstices, and the custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas is a survival of the Druid and other pre-Christian traditions. The hobgoblins are known as kallikantzari in Greek. who may be present after midnight on New Year’s Eve, or, on New Year’s Day when they come to visit. I didn’t manage to learn what Saint Basil’s water actually is, MGG is more than useless when it comes to questions like this, the following is what I discovered for myself. The twelve days of Christmas end on the sixth of January with the celebration of Epiphany, or, as it’s called in Greek Theophania or, Ton Foton. And there you have the makings of Christmas and New Year;  Greek style! Burning wood – the marriage of fire. They vary from region to region. In the Greek Orthodox faith, Easter is the most sacred observance. Burning branches – Photo © Rui Almeida Photography. The word carol comes from the ancient Greek 'choros', which means "dancing in a circle," and from the Old French word 'carole', meaning "a song to accompany dancing". The period is viewed by Christians as the amount of time it took the three magi, or wise men, to travel to Bethlehem for the Epiphany, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the savior and the son of God ("epiphany" is from the Greek word for "revelation"). Two Women of Ancient Greece Filling Their Water Jugs at a Fountain (women of Corinth). Whilst making a wish, to ensure a sweet year ahead, the young women ‘feed’ butter or honey to the spring. It is believed that spitting chases the devil and the misfortune away. They play drums and triangles as they sing. The games go on for hours, starting early evening, and lasting until midnight, usually at home, but there are organised games in the “Kafenion” (Coffee shop) and clubs. It's all about Greece, Greeks and all things Greeker! Some Greeks, especially in villages, believe that someone can catch the evil eye, or matiasma, from someone else's jealous compliment or envy. Kalanda: Carol Singing – Greek Christmas Traditions. Everyone is costumed and parties take place in the streets and bars, throwing colored confetti to each other. A POMEGRANATE, an ancient symbol of prosperity and good luck, is hung above the door throughout Christmas. The preparations and customs, including traditional foods and large feasts, remain an important part of modern Greek life. The hostess of the house offers pastries, sweets and hors d'oeuvres to the guests. Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® is a month-long celebration, the festival runs Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.. We provide below information about traditional festivities (Name day celebration, Engagement, Carnival, Clean Monday, Easter, Greek Independence Day, The Ohi Day) and Superstitions (the Evil Eye (Mati), Spitting, Black cat, Hobgoblins, Tuesday the 13th, The expression Piase Kokkino). Diples, thin strips of dough, folded and fried, sprinkled with chopped nuts and honey. Also if a glass or mirror breaks, it is believed to be bad luck for seven years. January: Poseidon: the Sixth Month of the Attic Calendar in Ancient Greece and it Belonged to Women! A popular tradition is small village children travelling from house to house on Christmas Eve singing 'kalanda', the equivalent of Christmas carols and offering their good wishes. According to the folk Christmas traditions, the hobgoblins are short, ugly creatures with many deformities. The one whose leaves curl the most, will have their wish come true. 9 Greek Christmas Food Traditions. On October 28th, the Greeks celebrate the day when the Greek dictator Metaxas refused to let the Italians invaded the country during World War II. Because of the terrain, goats and sheep are more commonly raised, so beef dishes are rare. Yet some Christmas traditions have a spiritual meaning. The couple exchanges wedding rings that are worn on the left hand. Growing up in Puerto Rico I have memories of fun traditions we did as kids, and I wantedKeep Reading And, of course, baklava, layers of phyllo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, covered in sweet syrup. Customs and traditions in Greece and the Greek Islands are an important aspect of the Greek culture. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. As New Year is considered a lucky time, it’s the perfect excuse for a card-playing marathon, and I mean marathon! A resident of Greece, Nancy Gaifyllia is a cook who writes about the country's regional specialties. In many towns around Greece and in the islands, local customs revive. During the night of the Holy Saturday (Megalo Savato), everybody dresses well and goes to the church where a ceremony is held. 101 Federal Street, Suite 1900. Non-religious (but fun) Christmas traditions 21. Eat a special Christmas Eve dinner. The usual sweets are, in fact, I would say, always rather than usual, snowy kourabiethes, Greek Christmas cookies, filled with almonds and drenched in icing sugar. The festival consists of two weeks of the feast, beginning from the Sunday of Meat Fare and ends with the first day of the Lent, called Clean Monday (Kathari Deutera). What Makes a Greek a Greek? This is the practice of giving money to children; nieces, nephews, grandchildren etc. Traditions and superstitions vary from island to island, from villages to villages and from region to region. Most of the Christmas traditions in Greece are more or less similar to the West. It is a custom in Greece to get engaged before getting married. Everyone passes the flame one to another.  A large onion, skeletoura, Scilla Maritima, the squill bulb or sea onion, used by Greeks in ancient times to worship Pan, God of the wilds and of nature, is hung above the door. , health and luck exception and seems to have more than Christmas like Christmas marry mate. €˜Feed’ butter or honey to the spring, will have the most, will have the most will! 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