There are so many beautiful Christmas traditions that vary from country to country around the world. My husband grew up in Greece and loves to remember caroling with a triangle during the Christmas season. He and his brothers and sisters would go door to door and even on the bus to sing special songs with the accompaniment of a triangle. Those who listened and enjoyed the songs would have to give a coin or a small donation to the carolers. What fun!
You can see several traditional carols performed by children in Greece here with English translations:
As I looked into the holiday traditions I learned a bit more. Although you can hear Christmas carols (calenda) throughout the season, there are three official caroling days – Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany. In many parts of Greece, during the twelve days of Christmas (December 25 – January 6th) fires are kept lighted so that goblins cannot enter a house by the chimney and play tricks on people. In modern Greece, you will also see Christmas trees and boats lit up with fancy lights as Saint Nicolas is the Protector of sailors.
Of course, my husband also loved the special goodies that were made at this time of year. Traditional cookies for Christmas and New Years are melomakarona (semolina wheat, cinnamon and cloves in cookies that are rich with honey) and kourabiedes (rosewater and butter cookies served with powdered sugar). Then there was the tradition he did not care for.
On January 6th, Christmas celebrations wind down with “Theofania” when all waters are blessed. At that time, a cross is thrown into the water and the first to bring it back is supposed to have great luck for the year. Although this is wonderful in Greece where the waters are reasonably warm in January, my husband will never forget diving into freezing and murky waters here in the USA hoping that he’d have the good luck not to catch a cold!
To check out a trio of merry musicians on New Year’s Eve in Crete, visit: http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1354