Hellenic Christmas

  » Sweets & Treats (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

In the past, the honey cookies (melomakarona) were made exclusively for Christmas, while sugar cookies with almonds, or kourabiedes, were prepared for the New Year.

Today, though, this distinction is not observed anymore and both melomakarona and kourabiedes are prepared and consumed throughout the festive season. Another traditional custom that dates back to the Byzantine times is the slicing of the Vassilopita (Basil’s cake or New Year Cake). The person who finds the hidden coin in his/her slice of the cake, is considered to be lucky for the rest of the year.

» “Kalanda” or Carols

The singing of Christmas carols (or kalanda, in Greek) is a custom which is preserved in its entirety to this day.

On Christmas and New Year Eve, children go from house to house in groups of two or more singing the carols, accompanied usually by the sounds of a musical instrument the “triangle,” but also of guitars, accordions, lyres or harmonicas. Until some time ago they were rewarded with pastries but nowadays they are usually given money. Listen to some sound extracts with Greek Christmas carols (Kalanda)  from different parts of Greece. Thrace & Epirus & Ikaria Island