PHILIPPI PRIMARY SCHOOL
Christmas is one of the greatest religious celebrations
The wish “Happy holidays” is one of the most typical
wishes during the period before and after Christmas
On Epiphany Day, when Christ’s baptism is celebrated,
the waters are sanctified with the throwing of the
cross in the water and it’s hauling by swimmers and
with the reconsecration of homes by priests.
Santa Claus in is red uniform and his sleigh is
outlandish!(besides as modern fairytales say,
he lives in Finland).
Nevertheless because of the fact that the
christian Church celebrates his grace on 1st
January, our people through its traditions
celebrated in the past Saint Basil the bishop
of Caesarea, a humble and deeply educated
man, who helped poor and helpless people.
New Year’s cake (vasilopita)
In many parts of Greece, mainly in villages,
the ladies of the house clean their homes and
prepare the New Year’s cake, called
The recipes for “vasilopita” vary regarding the
ingredients and decoration. A coin is put in
the dough. The person who finds it is
considered to be lucky for the rest of the year.
The catting of New Year’s cake follows our
Christian tradition until today.
Firstly, the sign of the cross is being made by
the lord of the house, it is cut in four pieces
and the first piece is devoted to Christ, the
second one to Saint Basil and then to the
house, the members of the family and the
Whoever finds the coin which is hidden in
the cake will be the lucky one for the New
On Christmas Eve, in the morning groups of
children go from door to door and sing
carols (the word “kalanta” derives from
calends, the first days of each month of the
The carols are greeting songs. They are full
of praise for the lady and the lord of the
house and the other members of the
In many houses at daybreak on New Year’s
Day people break a pomegranate on the
floor so that the new year will bring
Great importance was placed on the first
footing (the first person to enter a house on
January 1st ).
Thus in many houses that the family hadn’t
had a child, a neighbour or a friend who had
children went first footing.
The Goblins appear on Earth during the
twelve days of Christmastide.
Beliefs about them originate from ancient
myths about the Satyrs and Pan and they are
associated with the winter soltice. The
Goblins live below the surface of the Earth.
Throughout the year they hack with their axes
to cut down the tree which holds the Earth
but when they are about to succeed, Christ
arrives and the tree is reborn while the
Goblins surge on Earth and tease people.
For the fear of Goblins, people have found
various preventire methods, like offers
(sweets, ring-shaped bread rolls,
“kouloures”), fire (“christoxilo”, the first
piece of wood which will be burnt in the
fireplace on the night of Christmas Eve), the
burning of incense, crosses, bad smells,
thorns, big bone or spells.
However, Goblins definitively disappear with
the sanctification on Epiphany Day.