Comenius Project
“Understanding and celebrating European folklore”

Greek presentation
1st meeting
29th October - 2nd Nove...
GREEK
CHRISTMAS

UNDERSTANDING
AND
CELEBRATING
EUROPEAN FOLKLORE
The celebration of Christmas in the Greek tradition
Dodekaimero (a period of 12
days) consists of the 3 main
celebrarions ...
Carols (Κάλαντα)
On Christmas Eve, New Year Eve and
Epiphany Eve children often go out
singing 'kalanda' (carols) in the s...
Children Singing Christmas Carols in Greece
Kalanda by Nikiphoros Lytras.
Traditional Food


Going to a Midnight Mass Service is very important for most
Greeks. After the service people can go ho...
Traditional Sweets

Melomakarona

Siropiasta- Baklavas

Kantaifi
Christopsomo




Christopsomo, or Christ’s Bread, is
considered a sacred tradition in
many Greek Orthodox homes, and
the...
Decorations



Christmas Trees are becoming more popular in Greece, but they aren't
traditional. Instead most houses will...
Christmas Decorative Ship
Thessaloniki- Aristotelous
Square
Saint Basil – Presents


In Greece, presents are often
brought to children by Aghios
Vassilis / Άγιος Βασίλης (Saint
Basi...
Christmas Superstitions

In favour of health, welfare and fertility
Kalikantzaroi
(bad spirits)


The Kalikantzaroi are meant to
appear only during the 12-day
period from Christmas to the
E...
Bonfires
A celebratory activity
taking place in several
places.
It symbolizes the
prevention from evil
spirits and the vic...
Fire customs




Burning a log at
Xmas night is a widespread habit.
The ash is regarded a
lucky charm against
misfortune...
Celebratory disguises

Continuity and survival of ancient greek
festivities, mainly dedicated
to Dionysus – the god of win...
Merry Christmas
Καλά Χριστούγεννα
Χρόνια πολλά
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Christmas in Greece

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Comenius Project
“Understanding and celebrating European folklore”
Greek presentation for the
1st project meeting
from 29th October umtil 2nd November 2012
in Czech Republic, Usti nad Labem
Fakultní základní škola Ústí nad Labem
This presentation coordinated by: Charalampos Passalis, Aspa Karasouli, Ariadni Katzika

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Christmas in Greece

  1. 1. Comenius Project “Understanding and celebrating European folklore” Greek presentation 1st meeting 29th October - 2nd November 2012 Czech Republic, Usti nad Labem Fakultní základní škola Ústí nad Labem Charalampos Passalis, Aspa Karasouli, Ariadni Katzika
  2. 2. GREEK CHRISTMAS UNDERSTANDING AND CELEBRATING EUROPEAN FOLKLORE
  3. 3. The celebration of Christmas in the Greek tradition Dodekaimero (a period of 12 days) consists of the 3 main celebrarions of Christianity:  Christmas –the Birth (25/12)  New Year - Circumcision (1/1)  The Baptism (6/1) Origin of greek customs: Festivals of the Roman Calendar that had integrated features of the Ancient Greek cult. Main focus of all ceremonies: Transition from the old to the new , - from sterility to revival.
  4. 4. Carols (Κάλαντα) On Christmas Eve, New Year Eve and Epiphany Eve children often go out singing 'kalanda' (carols) in the streets. They play drums and triangles as they sing. Sometimes they will also carry model boats decorated with nuts painted gold. Carrying a boat is a very old custom in the Greek Islands. If the children sing well, they might be given money or nuts, sweets and dried figs to eat.
  5. 5. Children Singing Christmas Carols in Greece Kalanda by Nikiphoros Lytras.
  6. 6. Traditional Food  Going to a Midnight Mass Service is very important for most Greeks. After the service people can go home and end their Advent fast.  The main Christmas meal is often lamb or pork roasted in an oven or over an open spit. It's often served with a spinach and cheese pie and various salads and vegetables.  Other Christmas and new year delicacies include 'Baklava' (a sweet pastry made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey), Kantaifi (a pastry made from a special form of shredded filo dough and flavored with nuts and cinnamon), Theeples (a kind of fried pastry), Kourabiedes (a pastry made from butter, flour, almonds and caster sugar), Melomakarona (sweets with honey and nuts).
  7. 7. Traditional Sweets Melomakarona Siropiasta- Baklavas Kantaifi
  8. 8. Christopsomo   Christopsomo, or Christ’s Bread, is considered a sacred tradition in many Greek Orthodox homes, and the care with which it is made is said to ensure the well-being of the home in the year to come. Only the purest and most expensive ingredients are used. The bread is often decorated with pieces of dough formed into representations of the family’s life (boats, animals, etc.). The father at the Christmas family dinner crosses the “Christopsomo” and gives a piece to everybody wishing them Merry Christmas and “Hronia Polla”
  9. 9. Decorations  Christmas Trees are becoming more popular in Greece, but they aren't traditional. Instead most houses will have a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire suspended across the rim. A sprig of basil wrapped around a wooden cross hangs from the wire. Some water is kept in the bowl to keep the basil alive and fresh. Once a day, someone, usually the mother of the family, dips the cross and basil into some holy water and uses it to sprinkle water in each room of the house. This is believed to keep the 'Kalikantzaroi' (bad spirits) away.  The first Xmas tree was decorated in Greece at the exterior of the palace in 1833
  10. 10. Christmas Decorative Ship Thessaloniki- Aristotelous Square
  11. 11. Saint Basil – Presents  In Greece, presents are often brought to children by Aghios Vassilis / Άγιος Βασίλης (Saint Basil) on the 1st Janaury.  1st January, New Years Day, is St Vasilis's Day who is also known as St Basil the Great.
  12. 12. Christmas Superstitions In favour of health, welfare and fertility
  13. 13. Kalikantzaroi (bad spirits)  The Kalikantzaroi are meant to appear only during the 12-day period from Christmas to the Epiphany (January 6th). They are supposed to come from the middle of the earth and get into people's house through the chimney! The Kallantzaroi do things like put out fires and make milk go off. Having a fire burning through the twelve days of Christmas is also meant to keep the Kallantzaroi away. Legends : Kalikantzaroi and the tree of life
  14. 14. Bonfires A celebratory activity taking place in several places. It symbolizes the prevention from evil spirits and the victory of the good ones
  15. 15. Fire customs   Burning a log at Xmas night is a widespread habit. The ash is regarded a lucky charm against misfortunes
  16. 16. Celebratory disguises Continuity and survival of ancient greek festivities, mainly dedicated to Dionysus – the god of wine and enjoyment.
  17. 17. Merry Christmas Καλά Χριστούγεννα Χρόνια πολλά

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