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Greek New Year’s Day is an important part of Greek culture as it is a celebration of hope and joy for the new year ahead! Even if you don’t live in Greece, there are many ways that you can join in on these traditions by hosting your own Greek New Year celebrations or simply celebrating with some traditional dishes at home.
Every year, people from all over Greece come together to celebrate the start of a new year. Greek families follow many traditions that have been passed down through generations. The tradition includes decorating with beautiful flowers symbolizing life and hope, eating special dishes such as Baklava, which represents prosperity, exchanging gifts, and breaking pomegranates on the ground to bring good luck. Another popular tradition is lighting large candles around the house, meaning that when evil spirits pass by, they will be scared away from them.
Families also get together for big feasts with delicious (Christmas) food like pastitsio, moussaka, and souvlaki. This is a time to be merry with family and friends, laugh, dance, and enjoy each other’s company.
List of the Greek New Year traditions!
The most anticipated time for many youngsters and adults arrives as midnight approaches. Thousands of fireworks light up the whole sky of Greece, creating a stunning display of color and light. This will undoubtedly inspire you, as the presentations vary from city to city but are always spectacular. New Year’s Eve in Athens is equally exciting if you’re in the capital.
However, if you’re looking for something interesting and vibrant for the whole family, here is the place to go.
This is a traditional Christmas food that you must try! Making a cross on the vasilopita, then splitting the first two slices, one for Christ and one for the family. The money is then distributed equitably to family members and friends, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. Before baking, a trinket is placed within the dough. Whoever wins the coin will be rewarded with good fortune in the next year.
3. New Year Countdown
With the help of Athens Culture Net and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Municipality of Athens hosts the official countdown to New Year’s Eve 2023 at Thiseio. Many musical/orchestra ensembles will play that day, including the Athens Circus School and the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra. Some of Greece’s most well-known and noteworthy singers, actresses, TV personalities, and celebrities will host the show.
4. Smashing pomegranates
Pomegranates are very important in Greek culture. They are seen as a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Pomegranates are given and received as a symbol of good fortune in Greece. During Christmas, a pomegranate is hung over the entrance door and left there until the New Year.
When the clock strikes noon, all lights in the home must be turned out, and everyone must leave. The “kalo podariko” is a fortunate family member selected as the first person to enter the home, placing the right foot forward for good luck. The pomegranate must be smashed against the front door by the same individual. The more planted seeds, the better luck the household will enjoy in the next year.
5. Playing the cards
Some individuals go to nightclubs or pubs to celebrate New Year’s Eve, while others remain at home with friends and family. Because Greeks think the New Year is a time for good fortune and prosperity, many prefer playing cards or even the lottery.
Board games, dice, and the state lottery are luck symbols if the cultures there inspire you to pack your belongings and travel to be a part of Athens, Greece, New Year’s Eve 2023, or any other area of the nation.
6. Singing carols
Carol singing is a well-known Greek ritual. Children travel about their neighborhood playing the triangle and singing the kalanda. This is one of the oldest customs that is being practiced today. Giving money to youngsters when they come to your door is considered good luck.
In summary, for Greek New Year traditions!
No matter what way you participate in Greek New Year Traditions, it is certainly an enjoyable and memorable experience! Whether you’re of Greek descent or not, these traditions are a great way to bring joy and connection into your life. Have fun celebrating the Greek New Year with family and friends!
Happy New Year from Greece!