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Greek Christmas customs

Greece ● 13 December 2016
 

Christmas in Greece is a special period that is celebrated with joy and many unique traditions. These traditions you will find only there, and they will make you feel the religiousness that is very important for the Greek people. What makes Greece an exquisite destination for Christmas holidays, which will be an unforgettable experience for you, is the combination of the glamorous and festive Western holidays traditions on the one hand and the religious and family-type on the other.

On Christmas and New Year's Eve, children visit the houses and the shops of their neighbourhood, and they sing with instruments like triangles or guitars kalanda, which are the same as Christmas carols. People give them money or treat them with sweets because the children are a sign of good luck.

The Greek people decorate their house with a Christmas tree, which is very popular in Greece, but a Greek custom is to decorate not a tree but a Christmas boat. This tradition goes back hundreds of years ago when the Greek men worked as seamen. During Christmas time, when they returned home after a long period of absence, their families decorated a small wooden boat to welcome them. It is also possible that this tradition is linked with the celebration of Saint Nicholas, who is the Patron Saint of Sailors in Greece.

The main Christmas meal is lamb or pork, roasted in the oven, and it is often served with cheese or spinach pie, salad and other appetisers. Necessary is considered the Christopsomo (Christ's bread), which is a sweet bread, flavoured with orange and cinnamon. It is decorated with a cross, and it is made on Christmas Eve to be eaten on Christmas day. Popular traditional Christmas sweets are melomakarona and kourampiedes, which taste like Christmas and are a perfect delicacy to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Melomakarona

In Greece, the presents are brought to children by Saint Basil the Great, who is celebrated on the 1st January.

People in Greece also celebrate Epiphany, on the 6th January. In the Greek orthodox church, Epiphany is the baptism of Jesus Christ, and it is also known as the Blessing of the Waters. Young men dive into the cold sea, river or lake to get a cross, which has been blessed by a priest and thrown into the water. The man, who gets the cross, is meant to have good luck during the new year.



Where to Stay

Hostel in Athens, Greece Student and Travellers Inn
8.9 10
Student and Travellers Inn
16, Kidathinaion str., 10558 Athens, Greece

Student and Travellers Inn – the first hostel in Greece since 1977 is located in the heart of Plaka, right below the Acropolis. Traditional cobbled streets full of taverns, shops, cafes are right at our hostel's doorstep. The main square of Athens, Syntagma, is at 600 m, while the lively Monastiraki square is at 800 m. The nearest metro station and the bus stop for the X95 Airport Bus can be reached within a 7-minute walk.

Hotel & Hostel in Athens, Greece Hotel Dioskouros
7.6 10
Hotel Dioskouros
6, Pittakou str., 10558 Athens, Greece

Centrally located in Athens, Hotel Dioskouros is just a few-minutes' walk from Acropolis, Syntagma and Monastiraki Metro Stations. Piraeus Port and Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" can be easily reached from Monastiraki Metro Station.

Hotel in Tripoli, Greece Arcadia Hotel
Arcadia Hotel
Kolokotroni Sq., 22100 Tripoli, Greece

Arcadia Hotel is located in a very central location in Tripolis. Its location is an excellent starting point for guests who wish to explore Peloponesse. Kalamata International Airport is 76 km away.


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