After thousands of Greeks migrated from Greece to countries such as Australia, USA and Canada, they were forced to adapt to the cultures and traditions that were already present in a new, unfamiliar country.
However, Greeks across the world come together as one during the time of Christmas, as they use Greek food as a bridge to bring together their families and loved ones during this special time of year.
In a recent interview with the Insider, Anneta Konstantinides reveals how her family in California, who lived more than 6,000 miles away from their Greek relatives in Thessaloniki, found a way to each bring their family traditions to their dining table in the United States.
From Thesaloniki to California
Konstantinides revealed that every year when she was little, her dad would make the baklava and kataifi that his own father — a professional filo maker — had taught him how to bake. Her father had spent his teen years helping in her grandfather’s shop in Thessaloniki during the busy Christmas and Easter seasons, learning how to stack the filo just right and make the ultimate “secret” syrup that goes on top of the baklava.
As Konstantinides transitioned into adulthood, graduating from college, she travelled across the world, moving to five places around the world — Washington, DC; London, England; Cardiff, Wales; New York City; and Sydney, Australia — over the course of six years.
But, without even realizing it, she found a connection to home through food.
While living in Sydney, she asked her mom for her spanikopita and tiropitakia recipes and did her best to recreate them as her friend made Yorkshire puddings beside her.
“I’ve continued to bring my family to the holidays, even when we’re apart. My mom’s Greek salad has become a favorite among my friends, so I’ve often made it for potlucks and barbecues. And I recreated my mom’s spinach pie yet again for my first Greek Easter party this year, although it may have taken a few (okay, four) panicked phone calls before I could get it right.”
A Greek Christmas is the best Christmas
As Christmas is a great time for many, filled with love and happiness while surrounded by friends and family, it is important to keep in mind that some families are forced to spend their Christmas apart in other countries.
Despite possibly being physically separated, it is important that Greeks remember the traditions that bind families together during this special time of year.