Greek Christmas Greetings – Kala Christougena

by Mary Papoulias-Platis


During the Greek Christmas Season we celebrate during these special dates; December 25, January1, and January 6th. We gather for many religious events and bake up special traditional seasonal foods and pastries for the holiday celebration.

Christmas Lent begins on November 15th and ends December 24th.  Most Greek Americans celebrate along with the American traditions which includes the decorations, Santa Claus,parties, and the baking of traditional cookies. The Orthodox tradition of fasting and reflection continues in many towns across America as the Greek family prepares for this religious time by accepting communion the week before Christmas.

Our Christmas like many, commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. The story is retold to worshipers each year during the holiday services during at all the local Greek churches. Christmas Eve service is traditionally a midnight service. But over the years this has changed to make it easier on the communities. The hymns and the Biblical readings declare the Christmas message of hope and renewal. Christmas pageants of the nativity may also be presented by the children. The pageant is not typical Greek, but rather an adaptation of European tradition.

Carols are sung at the end of the service in both Greek and English by the parishioners. The Orthodox carols are rich in theology, and the best known religious Greek carol is ” I Yennisis Sou”. (Your Birth, O Christ”)

The Kontakion carol may also be sung in many churches.

“Today the Virgin gives birth to Him who is above all being, and the earth offers a cave to Him whom no man can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory, and Magi journey with a star.
For unto us is born a young child, the pre-eternal God.”



© 2011 – 2015, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

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