Welcome to a special post where I have the opportunity to introduce five other Greek biased bloggers via a Christmas blog hop.
First though, I’ll share a taste of Kritsa Christmas:
Christmas in Crete is the second most important religious festival of the year, behind the passion and fireworks of Easter. Traditionally it’s a family celebration with decorated boats dedicated to Saint Nicholas who arrives on his name day, 6th December. Children need to wait for presents until Saint Basil comes into the village to deliver gifts on 1st January . These days he often wears a red outfit and white beard and answers to the name of Santa. However, with TV and films exerting influence, along with cheap imported LED decorations, Christmas trees, lights, and reindeer are increasingly taking hold.
Most hamlets, villages, and towns still feature a nativity scene.
When we spent Christmas in Crete, we made the most of a sunny Christmas Eve afternoon on our balcony. Imagine our surprise when one of the main churches in Kritsa broadcast Christmas songs. It seemed very surreal, drinking afternoon tea in the sun with Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer blaring out in Greek.
We put our kitchen chimney to good use, and Santa obliged by filling our stockings. I expect our bemused neighbours wondered why they found a full stocking on their doorstep. All the stockings had a traditional tangerine in the toe, that we’d scrumped the previous day!
Later on Christmas morning, a large group of children went around the village singing carols and collecting coins. Ever since then I’ve saved coins in a pot ready for the next Christmas morning that I spend in Kritsa.
This excerpt from Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa will show how that Christmas experience inspired a short scene:
On that wonderful Christmas morning two pigs, each on their own spit over separate trench fires, already dripped fat to cause smoky sizzles. Our male relatives grouped around to make sure the pork cooked to perfection. I learnt each man needed a raki before turning a spit handle for the length of time it took the next man to quaff a drink, then, after a rest for another raki, he would feed wood into the fire, a task that required yet another drop of the potent colourless spirit. Papa sat forlornly at the edge of the group with an untouched raki in his hand, at odds with the festive atmosphere that buoyed the other men.
I joined my cousins to go carol singing, all enthusiastically banging triangles of metal to accompany our efforts. Although most women impatiently shooed us away with floury hands, men usually joined our reedy voices and then found us a coin. Of course, we squabbled about everything, from what to sing to where to go, and even whose turn it was to hold the moneybox, but at the final share out we had enough for all of us to anticipate a visit to the sweet seller.
To read more you can Click Here.
I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year, 2016.
If you’d like to visit more blogs celebrating Greek Christmas themes, then take a hop through the list below. If you could leave a comment on one or more of the blogs, we’ll all be delighted.