The best part of a Greek Christmas! Going to a Greek BBQ filled with Greek savouries and sweets. While enjoyed all year round, it is most common to see Kourabiedes, melomakarona and galaktoboureko at Greek events. However, the biggest Christmas tradition among Greeks is eating avgolemono soup after the Christmas Eve church service. Another Greek Christmas tradition is baking and eating Christopsomo, which is common to numerous Greek families across Australia. The bread is usually decorated with a cross or ‘X’ (the first letter in the Greek word for Christ), and is made on Christmas Eve to be eaten on Christmas day.
You can’t have a Greek Christmas celebration without Greek Mulled Wine, also known as Krasomelo. The sweet and spicy beverage is used in Greece to warm the taste buds on a winter day, but in Australia it’s used as a sweet beverage that the whole family can drink together at Christmas dinner. While mulling wines are traditionally not the most appetising, many Greeks say the better the wine, the better the krasomelo.
The first Christmas tree came to Greece in 1833, when King Otto of Bavaria brought with him many traditions from his old country. While some Greeks still carry the Christmas tree tradition, many people in Greece instead decorate boats, which are recognised as powerful symbol in Greece of moving towards a new life. However, this doesn’t mean the Christmas tree is ignored during this time of year. Greek Australians are well known for decorating their Christmas trees with baubles of Greek patron saints, as well as photos of Greece printed on their baubles.
Although Christmas carols aren’t done as commonly anymore, a Greek “Kalanta” is still a tradition among many Greek families. Not many people know however, that the lyrics and music of the kalanta vary depending on each Greek region, and this is evident not only in the musical instruments accompanying the carollers, but also the rhythm and the wishes. Below is a list of carols from each Greek district, for your family to learn and carry the traditions!