Join the festive tradition and learn Greek New Year’s Kalanda

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On New Year’s Eve in Greece the kalanda tradition continues to reign supreme.

Children go from door-to-door singing carols in order to wish people “Καλή Χρονιά” (Happy New Year) and are rewarded with sweets or coins. This is a custom dating back to Byzantine times.

The carols also differ from region to region, island to island, village to village, although the central motifs remain the same: wishes for love, peace, health, joy and wealth.

To help you join in with the festive tradition, The Greek Herald shares the lyrics to its favourite carol: Αρχιμηνιά κι Αρχιχρονιά.

Greek Lyrics:

Αρχιμηνιά κι Αρχιχρονιά
ψηλή μου δεντρολιβανιά
κι αρχή— κι αρχή καλός μας χρόνος
εκκλησιά με τ’ άγιο θρόνος.

Αρχή που βγήκε ο Χριστός
άγιος και Πνευματικός,
στη γη— στη γη να περπατήσει
και να μας καλοκαρδίσει.

Αγιος Βασίλης έρχεται,
και δεν μας καταδέχεται,
από— από την Καισαρεία,
συ’ σαι αρχόντισσα κυρία.

Βαστά εικόνα και χαρτί
ζαχαροπλάστη, ζυμωτή
χαρτί— χαρτί και καλαμάρι
δες και με-δες και με το παλικάρι.

Το καλαμάρι έγραφε,
τη μοίρα του την έλεγε
και το— και το χαρτί ομίλει
Άγιε μου- άγιε μου καλέ Βασίλη.

Κάτσε να φας κάτσε να πιείς
Κάτσε τον πόνο σου να πεις
κάτσε, κάτσε να τραγουδήσεις
Και να μας— και να μας καλοκαρδήσεις

Pronunciation:

Archiminiá ki archichroniá
psilí mou dhendrolivaniá
ki archí kalós mas chrónos
ekklisiá me t’ áyio thrónos.

Archí pou vyíke o christós
áyios ke pneumatikós,
sti yi na perpatísi
ke na mas kalokardhísi.

Ayios vasílis érchete,
ke dhen mas katadhéchete,
apó tin kesaría,
si’ se archóntisa kiría.

Vastá ikóna ke chartí
zacharokárno, zymotí
chartí ke kalamári
dhes ke me-dhes ke me to palikári.

To kalamári éghrafe,
ti míra tou tin éleye
ke to chartí-ke to chartí omíli
áyie mou-áyie mou kalé vasíli.

kátse na fas kátse na pis
kátse ton póno sou na pis
kátse na traghoudhísis
ke na mas kalokardhísis

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