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Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow

December 14, 2020
You probably don't think of Greece when it comes to Christmas, don't you? This beautiful Mediterranean country is more known as the go-to summer destination when you're itching to get away. Thin white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, stunning coastlines, luxurious yachts by the dock, and more. Far from what you normally think of what the holidays are, right? Be that as it may, Greece actually has a few Christmas traditions worth noting, as well as worth doing at home. They're unique, quirky, fun, and fascinating. And here's a handful you might like to know about for future reference!
Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow


Decorating A Christmas Boat

While it's vital that you get a Christmas tree in countries like the US, the UK, Canada, Belgium, France, and more, here in Greece, they're not that important. Sure, you'll still see many homes here with the famous seasonal plant, but they're not the end-all and be-all of holiday decorations. In fact, throughout history, the Christmas tree has become somewhat of a status symbol, as it getting one became more common among the upper class. Instead, more people decorated boats for Christmas instead. Yep, you read that right—boats! The tradition started after World War II and it's become the norm since then!
Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Singing (Greek) Christmas Carols

One of the less unique Greek Christmas traditions is singing Christmas carols. It's no secret that Greeks are a lively bunch so it makes sense that they love singing and dancing. Normally, the tradition goes that as early as 7:00 am on Christmas Eve, kids and families would start going from home to home to sing Christmas carols. But they don't just sing the regular 'Jingle Bells,' 'O Holy Night,' 'Deck The Halls,' and all that jazz! Greek Christmas carols actually sing of how the Lord Jesus Christ was born on a silent night. And it's common courtesy here to listen to the carol-singing and give rewards afterward.
Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Preparing and Serving Christopsomo

Now, onto the food! Of course, as with any other European nation, Christmas in Greece isn't complete without some sweets! And the first to enjoy is the Christopsomo! Translated as 'Christ Bread,' it has a bit of religious meaning to it than just its good taste. A tradition that started back in the Ottoman empire, it's also one of the country's oldest Christmas traditions. Oftentimes, people would bake them with a cross on the center. They would also sprinkle some nuts and almonds on it to symbolize prosperity. And, of course, they go well with a bevy of beverages. Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tea?—take your pick! They're all good with Christopsomo!
Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Baking Greek Christmas Cookies

Next up, Greek Christmas cookies! While bread is good and all, it's not enough to really bring out the sweetness of the holiday. Instead, families bake all sorts of cookies that are suited for the occasion. There the Melomakarona cookies, which are basically honey cookies that are sweetened by the natural syrup. And there are the Kourabiedes cookies, buttery delights sprinkled with sugar for that extra saccharine kick! Arguably sweeter than gingerbread cookies, these are top-notch sweets that any Greek table isn't complete without during the holidays. And, like Christopsomo, they go well with all sorts of sweet drinks as well!
Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Welcoming The New Year with Vasilopita

In Greece, the holiday season doesn't end the moment the clock strikes 12 on Christmas Day. It's called a season for a reason! And here in this country, it goes all the way to the Day of Epiphany (January 6) which is also a national holiday here. In-between that and Christmas Day, however, is, of course, New Year's Day. On this noteworthy day, the Greeks serve a special pie called Vasilopita, which translates to Saint Basil’s pie. This unique pastry includes a coin inside, and after the head of the family cuts the first slice on New Year's Day, it's said that whoever finds the coins will have good luck in the coming year.
Greek Holiday Traditions To Follow
Source: Wikimedia Commons

No matter what you think of Greece, Christmas is still a very important holiday here. So much so that the country has all sorts of traditions to celebrate it. You'd do well in knowing what they are! Who knows, you might be able to them in your home this year!

Whether it's Christmastime or not, when you're going to Greece, you might as well get a luxury home to accommodate you here!




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