"Merry Christmas" - 1st High School Orestiada, Greece
Updated: Feb 10, 2022
"Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas" resonate at every meeting point, while the sounds of children's triangles and carols vibrate the atmosphere with happy notes.
With dozens of customs, which marry the Christian traditions with the ancient Greek customs, the inhabitants of the country celebrate one of the most important religious holidays, a few days before the arrival of the new year.
Here are some customs that most are still valid today
The decoration of the ship
A custom that has disappeared in recent years and has been replaced by the Christmas tree.
The ship symbolizes the new voyage of man in life, after the birth of Christ. The children of the sailors who stayed behind made their own toys, which were usually boats. The boat symbolized the children's anticipation for reunion with their relatives, but also their love for the sea. Gradually, the custom of decorating it was established, but due to the fact that it was associated with unpleasant memories, it could not be established as a festive symbol.
During these holy days of the holidays, some black and hairy monsters that have sprung from the bowels of the earth try to enter our houses every night to eat our food and do damage.
And on the days of the Twelfth Day, when Christmas begins and the Lights end, they ascend to earth and woe to anyone who encounters them at night!
According to popular tradition, goblins are various demonic beings. These beings appear on earth on Christmas Eve and torment people throughout the Twelfth Day until the Epiphany, when the waters are sanctified. They are considered deformed and obese, each with red eyes, combed hair, wild beast teeth, leggings or four-legged monkeys. Our grandmothers used to say that they are airy, elves.
According to modern belief, these are "demons" that appear during the Twelfth Day (from 25-12 until January 6).Because from Christmas until the Lights Christ is still unbaptized, he is also "the water unbaptized". This is how goblins find an opportunity to thresh the world. Some people think that goblins are black, ugly, tall and dry. Others say they wear iron shoes. For others, they have red eyes, goat legs and a hairy body. Each of them has a flaw. Another lame, another crooked or one-eyed, another single-legged or crooked-legged, other crooked, crooked-faced, with a hump or tail. They are dichotomous beings and quarrelsome and so they can’t do a job until the end and leave everything in the middle. That is why they can’t harm people, even though this is their great wish.
But no matter how much people disagree about what goblins look like, everyone agrees on one thing:
in their endless stupidity and puppetry.
The carols are a Greek custom that is still alive today with the children going from house to house or in shops of the city two or more together and singing the carols accompanying their song with the triangle or even with guitars, accordion or lyre.
The children go from house to house, knock on the door and ask: "Shall we say it?". If the answer from the householder is positive, then they sing the carols for a few minutes ending with the wish "And of the year. Merry Christmas". The householder rewards them with a certain amount of money, while in the past he offered them melomakarona or kourabiedes. Carols are called on the eve of Christmas, New Year and Lights and are different for every holiday.
Here is the song the children sang
Forty days, forty nights Our Lady was in pain. He was in pain, begging the Archangels, the Hierarchs. You Archangels and Hierarchs to bring myrrh and calf. And the Archangels for myrrh go and the Hierarchs for calf runand until they go and until they come, Our Lady was liberated. Christ is born joy in the world, joy in the world in young men.
These were the carols that were said in the old days in Thrace. Now children are used to saying these carols on Christmas Eve.
Good evening Kings, and if it is your definition, Christ the Divine birth, to say in your mansion. Christ is born today, the city in Bethlehem, the heavens rejoice,
rejoices all. In the cave it is beaten, in the manger of horses, the king of the heavens, and poet of all. In this house we came to, stone stone not to crack, and the householder, a thousand thousand years to live.
Here in Greece we sometimes say carols and New Year's Eve.
New Year and New Year, my tall rosemary
and our good time, church with the holy throne.
Principle where Christ came out holy and spiritual,
on earth, on earth to walk and make us kind.
Santa Claus is coming, and he accepts us all from Caesarea,
You are a noble lady. Base image and paper, fermented confectionery paper and squid
see also with the lad.
The squid wrote, he was telling his fate and the paper speaks,
my dear, my dear Santa.
Here in Greece, housewives make various sweets and meals before Christmas. But here in Thrace there is also the custom with 9 foods.
On Christmas Eve each house had to have 9 meals, to have the table a lot of food throughout the year. There is also the interpretation that the 9 meals symbolize the places visited by Christ, the Virgin Mary and Joseph during the persecution of Herod.They leave a little of all the food for the "souls" on the table and put it under the icons, for Christ to bless them. According to one version, the 9 foods were pie, honey, wine, saragli, watermelon, melon, apple, garlic and onion. Another version: oily and usually dry food such as halva, olives, unleavened pie, cabbage, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, pickles and salt and pepper. Of course anyone can put whatever food they want but these were the
traditional ones. In many villages, the householder silvered the table by placing an amount under the tablecloth. The money was taken by whoever scraped the table (usually the children). The usual Christmas meal was Babo.
Christmas bread is the bread that women make in honor of Christ with special care and patience, on Christmas Eve. It is the blessed bread of the Christmas table, as it will support the life of the householder and his family. The shape, form and decoration of this bread are regulated by local customs. In most places, in the middle of the surface of the Christmas bread, they form the point of the cross with dough and at the edges they place almonds and walnuts, which are symbols of rich production. Its decoration is determined even by the profession of housewife. Thus, if he is a farmer or a shepherd, in Christmas bread they form oxen and plows or sheep and goats. In some places, they put a coin or some other sign in the dough, so that the lucky one of the house can be seen during the distribution.
The custom of dad is a custom that most families in Thrace follow to this day, since it has value not only because of tradition, but it is also a delicious food that drives young and old crazy! On Christmas Eve in all the villages of Thrace, the slaughter of pigs began, as that was when the forty-day Christmas fast ended and families could eat meat again. Slaughtering pigs was an old custom, a remnant of a pagan cult. The Romans on December 17-25, sacrificed pigs to Saturn and Demeter, to give the earth good and rich fruits. Nothing was thrown from the slaughtered pig. The "good" pieces of meat were salted and preserved for later, while from the entrails and livers of the pig, ie pieces that had to be eaten immediately, the housewives made this unique dish, Babo, which is the pig's intestine stuffed with meat. rice and spices. In the past, it was baked overnight over low heat to be ready when the family returned from church. That is why bamboo has been established as a traditional Christmas tree.
Melomakarona is one of the most traditional Greek Christmas sweets. We make the melomakarona and eat them only during the twelve-day festivities. Christmas is something like a continuation of the ancient celebration of the sun that was celebrated in Ancient Greece at the end of December. That is, very simply Christmas replaced in some way the worship of the sun with that of Christ as Godman. According to one version, the melomakarona are essentially a variation of the sweets made by the Ancient Greeks during the winter solstice, that is, on the feast of the Sun! Of course we can’t be sure that these sweets had the same form as today's melomakarona, except that they consisted of the same raw materials (flour, honey, nuts or other nuts). So this sweet passed to our days and became in a way synonymous with Christmas! And because definitely after all that whetted your appetite for melomakarona, let's see how we can make it.
RECIPE FOR MELOMAKARONA
For the syrup:
»500 ml water
»800 gr. sugar
»150 gr. honey
»3 cinnamon sticks