Christmas in Greece is a unique experience filled to the brim with rich traditions and cultural heritage. Since the Orthodox Church plays a major role in Greek culture, Christmas is celebrated according to their liturgical calendar rather than the Gregorian one used by most countries around the world. On Christmas Day, Greeks celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on 25 December with special liturgies at church services and festive family gatherings.
Christmas customs vary from region to region, but some common practices include preparing traditional desserts like kourabiedes (almond-based sugar cookies) and melomakarona (honey-dipped cookies), decorating homes with evergreen trees and wreaths, baking sweet breads decorated with saints, visiting relatives, exchanging gifts, lighting fires on boats and in homes for protection against evil spirits, singing carols (kalanda), and even performing puppet shows!
There are also various customs that take place during the days leading up to Christmas. For example, on ‘Little Christmas’ or ‘St. Basil’s Day’ (January 1st), people will ride traditional wooden sleds down hills as part of an outdoor fun activity called Kallikantzaroi. A few days before Christmas Eve, families gather together for a feast known as Vasilopita where everyone gets their own slice of cake with coins baked inside. Furthermore, legend has it that on New Year’s Day if you can find a pomegranate tree in bloom you will have good fortune throughout the year!
Greece is full of colourful holiday traditions that bring joy not only to those celebrating but all who observe them as well. Whether it’s participating in festive activities or eating tasty treats – Greek Christmas Customs offer something for everyone in this special season!