Christmas In Greece

Hi, my name is Dave, and I live in and write about Greece. This is my latest newsletter sent to subscribers of Dave's Travel Pages.

Christmas in Greece (Athens Syntagma Square)

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Sunday 17th December 2023 Dave's Travel Pages Newsletter


I hope you’re doing well!

I took a trip into Athens centre a couple of days ago to check out the Christmas lights and have a walk around.

Unlike some other European capital cities, Athens is not a Christmas destination for tourism (although there are plenty of things to do at Christmas in Athens).

In addition, the commercialisation of Christmas in Greece in general is a lot tamer compared to other countries.

This means there’s not so many people around in Athens as opposed to the busy summer months. I even managed to get a photo of Hadrian’s Arch without anyone in front of it!

Compared to visiting London, it was like walking around a quiet, sleepy village!

Sure, Syntagma Square has the Christmas lights up and is always busy, but restaurants are quieter, and you wouldn’t believe how empty Plaka felt.

It was actually a really nice evening to walk around the streets surrounding the historic center

It got me thinking about Christmas traditions in Greece, and I thought I’d share a few with you.

Christmas Carols (Kalanda): On Christmas Eve, children go from house to house singing carols (kalanda) accompanied by triangles. These carols have been handed down through generations and often speak of Christ's birth and the coming of the New Year.

Religious Observances: The Christmas season in Greece is marked by religious observance. Many religious Greeks fast for 40 days leading up to Christmas. The fasting rules exclude meat and dairy. To be honest, I’m hazy about the other things like wine, oil, and fish. I believe there’s a lot of ‘Greek rule flexibility’ depending on the person!

Traditional Foods: On Christmas Day, a main dish of roast pork or lamb is far more common than turkey. I think I like roast pork more than Turkey at Christmas!

Here’s a couple more articles to read if you’re interested:


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