Kritsa Christmas

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.

wp-1448437265394.jpegAlthough I recognise my bias, I can’t imagine a better nativity scene than this one in Kritsa, outside of Aristidis Cafe. With life-size figures and real snow, it is very striking.

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.

First Cretan Xmas and New Year 006 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.



My First Greek Island Christmas by Jennifer Barclay

Sugared Almond Biscuits (Κουραμπιέδες) by Amanda Bidirni

My first Greek Christmas’ Julie Ryan

Beers with Santa on Tilos by Ian Smith

Christmas Stock In by Richard Stevens










22 thoughts on “Kritsa Christmas”

  1. Hi Yvonne,
    What a lovely post, and a brilliant idea with the other Greek bloggers.
    Scrumping, I hadn’t heard that word for years and this week I’ve seen it two or three times, how strange!
    Pork for us this Xmas too!


  2. Thanks for bringing us altogether on this, Yvonne, I see that life in Kritsa is not a lot different from life in Latsida, simply heart-warming. Maybe you will organise an Easter ‘Blog Hop’…I already have a few ideas in the melting pot. I hope you have a lovely Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Yvonne for the memories and the opportunity I eagerly look forward to staying in Kritsa for New Year and Epifany. I expect on more than one evening I’ll be curled up on the sofa in the warmth of the somba, perhaps a little Rakomelo and enjoying Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Ian. People are often surprised about snow in Crete, it always falls in the mountains even though it dosn’t always reach Kritsa. Even the coast had snow last year and that is very unusual. I hope you get many visitors to your blog. X


  5. Thanks Yvonne,

    I love those nativity scenes also. We have one on Tilos but it’s not quite as fancy as yours in Kritsa – no snow, for one thing!

    But anyway, Kritsa sounds like a wonderful place and I’d love to get back to Crete and maybe visit it some day.

    Thanks again for the post and for the opportunity of participating in the blog hop. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for a lovely post Yvonne about this unique time of year in Greece. Having had a few Christmases myself in the southern Peloponnese, I certainly agree that it has a different spin on it altogether. It’s a quiet time to get to know locals a bit better too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good Morning Yvonne! Despite knowing Kritsa quite well, you shared a different visual of this traditional village. It`s a gorgeous area, with wonderful, generous people. You`re lucky to have the opportunity to live the traditional lifestyle. I`ve very kindly been given a copy of your book Kritsotopoula, which I`m looking forward to reading on these long Winter nights. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What lovely traditions, I love that life-size nativity scene. How nice of you to give your neighbours Christmas stockings (I did laugh though at the scrumped tangerines, naughty)! Loved the excerpt from your book too, I could almost smell the pork roasting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s