Christmas in Attica

Christmas , Athens, tree

There is no a better place to spend Christmas holidays than in Attica: festive mood, carols, mild nights, sunny days, impressive customs, delicious traditional pastries, shopping, a range of indoor and outdoor events and parties. Weather can be cold but it’s usually relatively warm for the season.

The whole region is decorated in bright lights; street performers of all kinds fill the air with joyful noise. Greetings can be heard all the time: “Chronia Polla” (many happy returns), “Kala Christougenna” (Merry Christmas), or “Kali Chronia” (Happy New Year). Groups of children go door to door caroling with a triangle on the Christmas’ Eve, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany’s Eve. People award them with some coins. You can see even adults, artists, big bands caroling in a very professional way and generously awarded by the audience.

There is so much for you to do: There are literally countless opportunities for recreation and entertainment in cultural hubs and venues. Theatrical performances, music concerts, charity bazaars and a very rich and long nightlife are there for your pleasure and joy.

There is so much taste: the Christmas cookies: kourabiedes, made with flour, almonds, fresh butter, rosewater and icing sugar, melomakarona, a honey cookie sprinkled with chopped walnuts and just a pinch of cinnamon and clove, vassilopita, a New Year’s Day cake which contains a hidden coin giving good luck to the receiver and diples, fried dough covered with honey, walnuts and cinnamon.

Kids are the kings and the queens of Attica’s Christmas. Many squares in Athens, in Piraeus and in many suburbs are turned in holiday playground for kids. Athens museums organize special activities and events for children, ice rinks are set up all around Attica.

Greeks exchange gifts on New Year’s Day, as according to the Greek Orthodox Religion, that is when Saint Basil the Great brings gifts to young and old.

Every year, all around Athens, a great assortment of events and happenings: music, dance, storytelling and many other treats take place especially in emblematic spots of the city. New Year’s Eve marks the culmination of the festivities with, songs, music and spectacular fireworks.

In the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center people of all ages are invited to experience the holiday spirit, with a rich and varied program inspired by the season’s magic! The ice rink at the Canal and the Christmas lighting set the stage for unforgettable holiday events for the whole family.

You can also have “salty “Christmas in one of the Saronic islands where  the local micro-climate usually allows for mild temperatures around 15 degrees with blue skies and no rain.

It is a great time to visit Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses Islands and have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas, blending with local residents and Greek visitors alike.

It’s there that you will often see, lighting up the windows of shops and houses, decorations of not only the familiar Christmas tree but of the traditional Christmas boat, as well, as part of a very old Greek island tradition.

On the sixth of January, the Christmas holidays in Greece officially come to an end with the celebration of Epiphany, (Theophania in Greek), when the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River.

Epiphany is the day of the “Great Blessing of the Waters”. Usually, an outdoor mass is held by the sea, in major ports such as Piraeus, or in smaller ports, coves etc. During the liturgy, when the priest throws a cross into the water, several faithful swimmers dive in order to retrieve it, as it is believed that the winner will be blessed throughout the year.

Christmas holidays in Attica are really unforgettable!

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