Are you traveling to Greece this Christmas? Are you wondering how Christmas is spent in Greece? If so, check out here the best Christmas traditions of Greece!
For most people around the world, Christmas means decorated trees, bright lights, Santa Claus on his sleigh grinning widely and saying Ho Ho Ho with Rudolph’s red nose showing the way across the starry night. Christmas is a time of joy, happiness, family and lots of presents. But in Greece, you might experience some different traditions throughout the holiday season.
Let’s check out the most popular and unique traditions.
Christmas Boats and Trees
Although decorated trees are also popular and seen around Greece during the Christmas holidays, you will see decorated boats. They are especially seen in the villages of the Greek islands. The boats represent the sailing lifestyle of Greece and the wish of most families for their sons, husbands, and fathers to return home safely from the sea.
Children Sing Kalanta
On Christmas Eve, it’s common in Greece for children to go from home to home in their neighborhoods to sing Greek Christmas carols, or “kalanta.” After wishing their neighbors happy holidays, the children are usually rewarded with sweets, dried fruits, and small change.
Gifts Aren’t Exchanged on Christmas
The Christmas season lasts from Christmas Eve to the Epiphany on January 6. Children in Greece usually get their gifts from St. Basil Day, the Greek version of Santa Claus, on January 1. However, many families now also give gifts on Christmas Day.
Kallikantzaroi Tease Villages
Greek folk tradition has it that little mischievous kallikantzaroi, hobgoblins in English, would rise from underground to wreak havoc during the 12 days of Christmas. To make them disappear, priests would and still do travel to homes on the day of the Epiphany, January 6, and bless them with holy water.