Home Page / Customs / Christmas
Print this page


Christmas preparations and the Twelve-day period

Christmas preparations would begin some days earlier. Housewives would clean their houses and bake rolls and Christmas bread in traditional ovens. On Christmas Eve, the men of the village would butcher the pigs and clean them with the help of their wives. What is worth mentioning is that the men of the village would receive Holy Communion before Christmas as they were then going to butcher the pigs and their hands would be dirty with blood and therefore temporarily not eligible for receiving Holy Communion.    

The time period between Christmas and Theophany is known as the “Twelve-day period”. Early in the morning at Christmas all the villagers would attend the church mass. After the end of the Christmas service, the relatives would gather in houses to eat and celebrate. 

On New Year’s Eve, as soon as the bell sounded for the vespers, housewives would set Santa’s table and place Santa’s pie, a glass of wine, a plate full of wheat with a candle, a branch of olive tree and the host’s wallet on the table. All these would be blessed by Santa, who visited every house right after midnight, in other words on the first minutes of the New Year.

Additionally, on the same day, meaning on New Year’s Eve, a small green branch of olive tree would be placed on the door, as well as on the savoury which adorned the mouth of the clay water jar. On the night of New Year’s Eve, the entire family would gather in front of the fireplace and throw olive tree leaves in the fire to find out, by observing the shake of the leave, which of the people they knew loved them.   

On New Year’s Day, everybody tried to have a peaceful and happy day because they believed that the remaining days of the year would be similar to the first day of the year.

On Carols’ day, meaning on the day before the Theophany, after the Great Benediction, each family would take holy water at home from the church and they would use it to bless their live-stock and their entire property.

Early in the morning of the Theophany, before the first sounding of the church bell, all youngsters would rush to the village fountains to wash themselves as they thought that the water running at that time would keep them young and beautiful. Next, after the end of the mass, each family would take Holy Light at home from the church. In the afternoon, young children would visit their relatives who in turn gave them gifts, while the minister of the village along with some other children would visit the houses to sing carols.  







Designed & Developed by NETinfo Plc