2Greek Christmas Carols (Kalanta) In Greece and Cyprus, the day before Christmas, all children use to sing carols (kalanta), from early in the morning, till noon time. They use to knock the doors, asking the people to let them announce the happy message: “Jesus Christ is born!”
3They use to carry an iron made triangle, which they use as an musical instrument.
4“Kalanta on 19th century”, painted by the famous Greek painter: N. Gyzis
5Here is the beginning of the Christmas carols: «Good morning, my gentlemen,and if you wish,we will announce Christ’ Holy Birthto your mansion.Christ is born today in Bethlehem!The skies are gladand the whole Nature is happy».
6Children singing carols for the President of the Greek Democracy
8PresentsChildren use to get their presents on New Year's Eve, not on Christmas Day, as their "Santa" is Ayios Vasilis, whom they celebrate on January 1st.
9Ayios Vasilis, was a Bishop, who lived in 4thcentury A.C.He was a veryeducated manand he used tolook after allpoor people.
10There are also many other traditions and customs, which are related to Christmas, New Year and Epiphany.
11Christopsomo (Christ's Bread) is considered a sacred tradition in homes, and the care, with which it is made, is said to ensure the well-being of the home in the year to come.It is decorated with Cross.
12“Kalikantzari”According to myth, mischievous and even dangerous elves called “Kalikantzari“. They come to Earth only during the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve to Epiphany Day, on January, 6th.
13These little fellows rove over the waters, roaming around the villages after midnight, and playing all sorts of harmless jokes.If you meet one, you can scare it off by making the sign of the Cross three times.
14VasilopittaAnother custom dating back to 4th century is Vasilopitta, a traditional cake, in which a golden coin is hidden.
15Is cut in the houses on New Year's Day, by the father VasilopittaIs cut in the houses on New Year's Day, by the fatherOne slice of the cake is always cut for Jesus Christ, one for the house and one for absent family members.
16Each person in the family gets a slice starting with the youngest. The person who finds the coin is considered to be the luckiest member of the family for the year.
17We wish you “Merry Christmas and a Happy Year, 2010” 1st Gymnasium of Chaidari Athens, Greece