Christmas in Greece
‘Tis the season to be jolly!The happiest time of the year is near: time to spend the holiday with our loved ones, to take that highly anticipated Christmas trip, to taste the Season’s special dishes, and to experience local culture. You can enjoy all of the above during your travels in Greece.
In cities, towns and villages you will see colourful decorations along the streets, in squares, houses and shop windows, with Christmas trees all lit up and Christmas model boats (the Christmas tree Greek counterpart) decorated with ribbons, lights and treats for the season.
On Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Epiphany Eve (Jan. 5), children (or adults too) visit houses and shops and sing Carols (a different song on each Eve), while striking their metal triangles or playing a musical instrument. Their reward is money or Christmas sweets.
On New Year’s Day in the morning a pomegranate is broken at the step of each house’s front door. The red arils, spread across the doorstep, symbolize the wish for happiness, fertility and good fortune for the family, at the dawn of the new year.
The festive culinary temptations are an extra reason to be jolly. Try Christopsomo, served on Christmas Day: it’s a special rounded loaf of bread prepared with spices, with a cross and other motifs adorning the surface, and a whole walnut placed at the centre of the cross. The Christmas sweet treats include melomakarona (honeyed sweets sprinkled with walnuts), and kourabiedes (butter cookies with almonds, dusted with white caster sugar).