Christmas in Athens! Although Athens is not the typical Christmas destination can be surprisingly interesting for the guests who will decide to visit our city during the Christmas Holidays!
Christmas is a feast mostly dedicated to children not only in Greece but all over the Christian world. Sweets and presents are expected anxiously by the little ones who swear (not always true) that they were good all over the year.
One of the most interesting traditions that is connected exclusively with the children during this period are the carols (Calanda in Greek). Children wander around on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany Eve (January 5th) and they sing the carols, different for each feast. They accompany their song with music from metallic triangles, guitars, accordions or harmonicas.
The carols are songs that are referred to the story of each feast and they always end with wishes for the people to whom the song is addressed to and in return they are expected to offer to the children a small amount of money. The procedure may reminds you the “trick or treating” Halloween custom and the fact is that there are similarities. In the past the treat was Christmas sweets (Melomakarona, Kourabiedes or Diples) or fruits (oranges, tangerines, apples, chestnuts, dry figs, nuts).
Children start going around early in the morning and they are supposed to finish at about noon or early afternoon. Of course they get excited by the fact that they can earn a good amount of money that they can invest on a new toy or gadget and the first ones on the “Kalanda recipients” list are grandparents, uncles, close relatives and friends who are of course more generous.
The word Calanda derives from the Latin calenda, which is translated as “the first day of the month“. It is believed that the history of caroling goes deep into the past and is connected with ancient Greece. There are many different versions of Carols in every area, all of them very interesting.
In any case, if you are out, in the streets of Athens on these days you will enjoy kids singing and maybe you will be also recipients of the festive wishes!
Here you can enjoy the New Year’s Eve carol by a famous children’s choir!