Christmas in Greece…la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la ,la!!!!!!!!!
During Christmas most Greek towns are being decorated with Christmas lights and trees, stores are all decorated with Christmas ornaments and the streets are full of people doing the last minute shopping of presents amidst carols and bands playing in a festive mood. In most major towns, you will find concerts, theatrical performances and other cultural events that guarantee a wonderful time with plenty of things to do.
The holidays feature three basic days of celebration: Christmas Eve(24th of December), New Year’s Eve(31st of December) and the Epiphany(6th of January). On these days most people tend to gather at home with their families, relatives and friends and exchange gifts and wishes before the clock ticks midnight and the festive night life begins. Some choose to stay home and watch a Christmas show while enjoying their melomakarona and kourabiedes, while others party to daylight in the nightclubs and bouzoukia.
Food plays a big , if not the biggest, part in Greek Christmas .
Melomakarona and kourabiedes are something to wait for all year long.I remember having these for the holidays for as long as I’ve been able to eat solid food .
Here is the original recipe for melomakarona by Βάγια, my mother …YOU ARE WELCOME 🙂
En Francia …
The celebration of Christmas in France varies greatly from region to region. In many places the main celebration is on 24th and 25th of December. There is a big dinner with the whole family these days.
The réveillon (what we call Christmas Eve) is an important day of the holidays, it is not a festivity but we start the party at night, with a family dinner ´´under the light of the candles´´. In many houses we exchange gifts this day or the next one, the morning of December 25th .
Regarding Christmas traditions and childhood, children leave their little shoes by the fireplace for Santa to fill them with presents, and small gifts such as candy, fruit and nuts are hung on the Christmas tree overnight.
Some typical dishes are the ´´foie gras´´, the white wine, the oysters and the Champagne. We eat a lot of meat, fish and chocolate too. Then we have some traditional desserts like the ´´bûche de Noël´´, a small log-shaped cake made with walnuts and chocolate.
It is in 1521 that the Christmas tree made its first appearance in Alsace, a French region. The trees back then, were decorated with roses, apples (referring to Adam and Eve), cakes and cookies.
We don’t have the ´´Reyes´´ but we have “La Galette des Rois” the whole month of January, that is offered and eaten by the members of the family on Sundays. Within the Galette, there is a small ceramic figurine hidden. The person who finds it in their pastel piece, becomes the king or queen.
Christmas in Italy
Christmas in Italy is a heartfelt celebration. Our country is a symbol of Catholic Christianity and the “spirit of Christmas” comes in all forms.Families are usually very united and organize many dinners. A lot of food is cooked in this period!
Many lights are installed in the streets and the and monuments of cities and countries. We also have the tradition of the Christmas tree and the crib.There are Christmas markets everywhere where you can buy the rarest and most traditional things: food, special cookies, decorating material.It is not uncommon that many churches organize exhibitions of cribs in my city. Also,“vin brulé” is provided outside the churches at the end of the celebrations, hot wine that is served to share in our cold nights (this for us who live in the north, every area of Italy has its special characteristics. We are a country rich in traditions, even when we talk about the same holiday).
What I dislike is that Christmas is often seen as a hypocrite opportunity amid the lights and gift expenses sense, of being together and sharing with those less fortunate. This is true not just for Christmas, I think giving back to others should be something to enjoy all year round, not just for a few days because tradition dictates. Christmas should be a time to reflect on, spend quality time with our beloved ones without forgetting the rest.
(Prato della Valle, Padova)