On the morning of Christmas eve, groups of children start going from house to house singing carols, thus announcing the birth of Christ, using metal triangles to symbolise the Holy Trinity.
There are several very traditional carols, dating back to the ancient times.
When children finish singing, the residents offer them money and sweets.
In some villages, the children carry boats or even lanterns. Lanterns remind us of old times, when carols were sung at night and the kids used them to light their path. Back then, they also brought sticks to knock on the doors.
Along with carols on Christmas eve, children also sing special songs- on New Year’s eve and on the morning of the day of the Epiphany.
Carols are a very old custom, with roots in ancient Greece. In those times, there was a celebration in honor of God Dionysus, during which people would go from house to house, chanting hymns. They would also carry a small boat symbolising the God’s arrival. Sometimes, they would also carry an olive or a laurel branch with red and white threads, where they would tie up the offerings they received at each house.
Also, in Homer’s time, the so-called song of Eiresioni was sung by children whose parents were both alive. This custom can be found today in Thrace, in northern Greece.
The word “Kalanta” (carols) comes from the word “Kalendes”, which were Roman celebrations taking place in the beginning of each lunar month. In Byzantine times, “Kalendes” were renamed “Asmata Agermou” (which means “songs sung during a group visit to a community house, on the occasion of a holiday”).
Even after all this time, carols remain a beautiful custom that brings good luck to our homes and illuminates our hearts, through the melodic and innocent voices of young children.