Christmas Eve Tradition – Greek Kalanda (VIDEO)

Christmas Eve Tradition - Greek Kalanda

On Christmas Eve there is a wonderful tradition in Greece where children go door to door singing the Kalanta Hristougenon (Κάλαντα Χριστουγέννων) is a Greek traditional (Christmas carols), spreading a message of joy, hope and peace.

Christmas Eve Tradition - Greek Kalanda

Children from all around the cities, islands and villages go from house to house singing the Greek Christmas carols and are then often invited into their neighbours’ homes for a treat after they are done singing.

Christmas Eve Tradition - Greek Kalanda

The Christmas Kalanda play an important part in Greek Christmas traditions and culture and they are also performed on New Year’s Eve and Epiphany Eve, which is on January 5.

Children go door to door carrying triangles and other instruments, such as drums, to accompany their wonderful singing.

Children knock on a door and ask, “Na ta poume?” meaning, “Shall we sing?” and once the person answers “Nai” (yes) the kids begin.

Christmas Eve Tradition - Greek Kalanda

After they do that, the kids are normally given melomakarona, kourabiedes and other traditional Greek Christmas sweets and sometimes even money to thank them for their good wishes.

Kalanda has been a part of Christmas celebrations in Greece for thousands of years and goes back to Byzantine times where children would carry small boats and sing songs honouring Dionysius.

The tradition of praising the head of household also began in Ancient Greece. In addition to singing songs to honour their god, they would also bestow the household with a gift of an olive branch, which also signified prosperity.

Greek Christmas Carol English Translation

Good evening noblemen

If this is your will,

Christ’s holy birth

May I sing in your noble house

Christ is being born today

In the town of Bethlehem

Heavens rejoice

All of nature is happy.

Inside the cave (He) is being born

In a manager for horses

The King of the heavens

The Creator of everything.

A crowd of angels are singing,

“Ossana in Excelsis”,

And holly is

The faith of the shepherds.

From Persia, three magi arrive

With their gifts

A bright star shows them the way

Without any delay.

In this house, we have come

May no stone ever crack

And the landlord

May live for many years.

Xronia Polla!

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GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.