Greek Holidays

In modern Greece the citizens practice several holidays that we are familiar with, but with a twist unique to Greece. For example, in Greece the people don’t celebrate their birthdays, instead they celebrate the “Name-day” of the Saint that they are named after. Let’s say your name is Daniel and you were born on January 10th, some people may wish you a happy birthday on the 10th, but chances are you won’t have a party. However, you and everyone else named Daniel will celebrate on December 17th in the name of Saint Daniel. I find this very interesting and it shows how important religion is to the Greek people today.

Another interesting holiday is Christmas. In Greece Christmas is celebrated over the course of 12 days ending on the 6th of January. During these 12 days children walk up and down the streets and sing Christmas carols to people in their houses. Traditionally the children were given sweets and pastries for doing this, but recently they started getting money for doing this. According to the people, during these 12 days hobgoblins called “kallikántzari” climb out of the Earth’s core and like to cause trouble, even though they are said to be friendly. The Greek people perform various rituals to prevent the Kallikántzari from getting inside their houses. This lasts until Epiphany (the last day of Christmas) where Earth’s waters are blessed forcing the Kallikántzari back into Earth’s core. As one can see, Christmas is very important to the Greeks with lots of tradition behind it.

The most popular holiday among the Greeks is Easter which has far too many customs to go into for this blog. Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon of the spring equinox in Greece and takes place over the course of a week known as Holy Week. On Holy Thursday the housewives start preparations for the celebration of Resurrection by making sweets and painting eggs red (eggs are a symbol of rebirth while red symbolizes the blood of Christ). Holy Friday is the most sacred day of the week representing the burial of Christ. Housewives avoid housework, women ad children go to church to decorate the Epitaph (Bier of Christ) and in the evening the Epitaph procession begins. Many Greeks leave the cities to celebrate in the countryside for the celebrations and festivities. There are many more Greek Holidays that I am unable to cover and many traditions and customs for these three holidays that I can’t fit into this blog, so I encourage you to do some more research if this interests you.

Sources:

“Culture.” : Greek Customs. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

“GREEK NAME DAYS.” GREEK NAME DAYS. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

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