Magical Greek Holiday Traditions by Maria Vermisoglou

Hello everyone! *waves wand maniacally* Greetings from the sunny Greece. My name is Maria Vermisoglou, obsessed with witch stories, author and occasionally a librarian.

Since we have entered the jolliest season of all and my favorite time of the year, I'll introduce you to some Greek Christmas traditions, so open these dusty boxes, set up your tree and we can start ;)


Christmas is a big occasion. On Christmas Eve, children go from home to home and sing the Christmas carols and bring the joy to people. Oh, how I loved singing the carols because I got sweets and treats in exchange. They are yummy!

Since we're talking about food, let's take a dive into the Christmas treats. When we prepare the Christmas dishes, the smell of spices fills the house and for me, that's another sign that Christmas is upon us.


Kurabiedes is a kind of shortbread covered in sugar. Personally, I am not a fan, but people love them and can't have enough. https://petros-syrigos.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/kourabies-wiki.jpg

Melomakarona is another kind of shortbread, but with syrup. They are addicting, sweet and it's very hard to resist emptying the plate in the living room when you see them. You just have to have a bite. Or two. Or several. https://www.argiro.gr/recipe/melomakarona-argiros-me-simigdali/

Diples is a sheet-like dough with honey: https://steliosparliaros.gr/giortina/xristougenniatika/diples/


Then we have the countless gatherings with family and friends and all you can eat buffets. There's always a party somewhere and there's bound to be food. Greeks love to cook, and the tables are overloaded from one corner to the other with the delicacies of turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and cakes.


We set our Christmas tree in December with all kinds of ribbons, ornaments and lights but we also decorate our balconies and the rest of our house so it's a kind of competition between residences - who has the most decorated house in the neighbourhood? However, some parts of Greece don't decorate trees but boats. Especially in islands or ports because in the older days, Greece started with the decoration of boats and then later on the Christmas tree was introduced in our Christmas lives.

In New Year's, our special tradition is the cake that we call New Year's pie. (Protoxroniatiki pita) We cut if on the stroke of midnight and inside, we hide a coin, so whoever gets it will have a lucky year.


Christmas is my favorite time of year and while we rarely get snow (we're the sunny country after all), we have lots of fun. In The Last Tide, the story I have for the Written in the Stars anthology, there's a Christmas scene. I mean, Yule balls, Christmas decorations and a vampire attack. Oops! I shouldn't have said that. Ha. In the book, you'll find many magical things, including Christmas. Welcome to Gifted Blood Academy, welcome to Ytherynia!


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