Christmas is almost here! Time to be together with our loved and dear ones. Those holy days are wonderful because you make time to be with everyone you love. You share moments of joy and happiness. I want to share with you some of those moments in Greece.
Before the holy days arrive the melomakarona and kourabiedes cookies are made. The melomakarona have honey in them making them deliciously sweet and the kourabiedes have powder sugar around them. Those special cookies are only eaten during this period until the 1st of January. I miss them enormously! For the ones who want to get the recipes, you can find them here: melomakarona and kourabiedes
Aside to this, still some decades ago, Greeks would not decorate a Christmas tree at home, but a boat with lights. Greece is a nautical country, so a boat is a very important part of the Greeks life and it signifies a good trip through life.
Here below you see the boat at my parents place. However, I got this one from The Netherlands since I live here and could not buy one in Greece ;)
The day before Christmas, 24 of December, you will see everywhere children singing carols. They will go to the neighbors or various shops in the city. They receive some money for it. A day to become rich you could say ;)
Jesus' birthday & name day
The 25th and 26th the birthday of Jesus is celebrated as is done over here too. As I told you in my former blog, name days are very important in Greece. On the 25th everybody who is called Christos (male name), Christina (female name) celebrate their name because of the birthday of Jesus, Christ. It is very interesting to know that Christ is written like this in Greek, Χριστός, but the guys who celebrate his name is written differently and have another accent, Χρήστος. This because nobody should carry the name of Jesus.
Greek Santa Clause - Agios Vasilis
The 31st of December, you will see again children go down the streets to sign the New Year’s carols.
As for Santa Clause, he does not come the 25th of December but on the 1st of January. The Santa Clause of Greece is called Saint Vasilis (Agios Vasilis). He set up a lot of hospitals, schools and did his best for others. His “Name Day” is celebrated on the 1st of January. This is also the day that the children get their presents. In a way his act of giving is celebrated on this day.
Vasilopita - cake of luck
Greek people really love to share and enjoy moments together. Another tradition is the special cake, vasilopita. When you translate it, it has the name of Vasilis from the Saint Vasilis and pita, cake. This cake is only eaten on the 1st of January. The recipe is different than all the other cakes and the most unique part of it, it has a coin in it! There is a special way the vasilopita is cut.
You cut it crossways, one vertical and one horizontal line, symbolizing the Church/believe, then the first piece goes to Jesus/God, the second to the house and then everyone gets the piece depending on their age from the older to the youngest one. Finally, the person that will have the coin in his/her piece is regarded to be lucky the whole year J
I am planning to make a vasilopita for my friends this year. See who is gonna be lucky ;)
For the recipe check the following links or search on Greek vasilopita and you will find loads of recipes:
A tradition that I love! Because sharing such special moments with your loved and dear ones are the ones that are most important to me. Keeping them close to my heart <3
I wish you amazing days, full of joy, laughter, love and happiness.
Enjoy every moment!
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Laura Katerina Kokkiadi
Owner & Founder