There’s just something wonderful about Greek Christmas! Just like the old days, Greek Nativity is a traditional celebration of feasting and spending time together with loved ones after 40 days of fasting. Nowadays with Greek families spread all over the world, the Nativity Feast has become a great blend of the old traditions and modern customs. Traditionally, Greek Nativity lasts for 2 weeks from December 25th until January 6th. Christmas Day has always been important, so let’s discover the traditions and treats that make Greek Nativity such a wonderful celebration.
Want to try baking Nativity treats? Traditional spices will make them special.
Traditional Greek Nativity customs
Christmas trees and gifts have been part of Greek Christmas celebrations for years, but some Greek Nativity traditions are completely unique. In the islands, many homes have a beautifully lit decorated boat on display to show appreciation to St Nicolas for protecting all seamen and sailors. In some regions, a wooden bowl containing a basil sprig wrapped around a cross is kept and used to bless the home every day of Nativity.
One of the most famous is “Kalanda.” Based on an ancient Greek tradition where children walked from home to home, singing, playing triangles and drums and were offered pastries and sweets, “Kalanda” has now been adopted around the world as Christmas Carols!
Authentic Greek Nativity Feast
In Greece, Nativity falls in winter and in the old days, pork was mostly used to break the Advent fast. Slowly baked with leeks and herbs, simmered with red wine and spices or roasted whole over a smouldering fire with oregano and lemon, these traditional recipes are still very popular. Modern Greeks all over the world now share local Christmas dishes with their loved ones – roast turkey, fresh seafood, glazed gammon, whatever is a local favourite. Greek Christmas is certainly a delicious experience!
Traditional Nativity Sweet Treats
Oh, where to start! Melomakarona, a delicious cookie blending fresh orange and spices, bathed in syrup and dusted with crushed walnuts and Kourabiethes, melt in the mouth almond shortbread smothered in powdered sugar are a given for any Greek Nativity. “Christopsomo” or “Christ’s Bread” is a very old Nativity custom. Beautifully decorated with a cross, and flavoured with honey and spices, “Christopsomo” is still baked by families for go
od health and blessings for loved ones. A Nativity tradition still in place with Greek families everywhere is “Vasilopita” – sweet spiced bread baked for New Year’s Eve with a lucky coin inside to bring blessings to the home and the receiver of the lucky slice!
Celebrating Greek Christmas? Browse our range of traditional Greek spices, quality flours and more here.
Share Greek Nativity with all the family – no matter where they are
Even if you can’t spend Greek Nativity with the whole family, Olympian Specialty Products help share traditional Greek treats with your loved ones anywhere in Australia.