There are many different Greek customs that Greeks perform in the Christmas holiday period, combining Christian traditions with ancient Greek customs. For Greeks, Christmas is one of the most important religious holidays, in combination with the celebration of the New Year.
The Christmas holiday period in Greece is filled with joy and celebration. Many people decorate their homes, inside and out, with kitchens full of traditional sweets. In the city squares, you’ll find bright lights, colorful decorations and events.
Καλές γιορτές! [Happy Holidays] can be heard everywhere you go! On the morning of December 24th, December 31st, and occasionally on the morning of January 6th, the children take to the streets, singing the carols – different carols for each date – while banging merrily on their triangles, making for a merry atmosphere. If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, it’s a little like trick-or-treating, but instead of saying “trick-or-treat!” the children sing carols. And instead of candies, the children are rewarded with loose change or traditional Christmas sweets.
Greek Christmas sweets and their history
Melomakarona. Kourabiedes. Diples. Vasilopita. Some are made with honey and some with powdered sugar but all are sweet and tasty. Throughout Greece, you can buy them at local shops and but many people choose to make them lovingly in their homes and share plates of sweets with family and friends. But what is the origin of these Greek Christmas sweets?