Halkidiki’s Christmas customs and traditions
There are many different customs and traditions that people around the world follow at Christmas period. Over the years many such habits and customs have been revived in Halkidiki by its inhabitants.
Days before Christmas, housewives clean and decorate their homes and their Christmas trees. On Christmas Eve, after a final cleaning of the house, they begin the preparation of the traditional sweets (melomakarona, kourabiedes). On the same day or a few days before they arrange the necessary shopping for the traditional table as well as the preparation of the Christmas bread (Christmas bread is a highly decorated Christmas baked bread). On the same night in most homes, takes place by the whole family the sweetening of the Christ, where the man of the house gives all the members a piece of bread with honey and nuts, and then puts the Christmas wood in the fireplace to burn all night. (the man of the house searches for days before he finds the most beautiful, solid and thick wood in the fields to symbolically warm up Christ and Our Lady). In the morning of the eve the little children ring carols in all the houses accompanied by triangles and drums. (in Nikiti the carols are being rung on Christmas afternoon after church, while in Galatista the children sing the carols while they keep a spit and the housewives put goodies in it) In many parts of Halkidiki, Christmas and New Year's Eve, pigs or chickens are selected for the traditional table while two days after Christmas villagers prepare sausages. A few days before the arrival of the new year everyone buys new shoes and clothes to welcome it and on the eve the women make the New Year cake and the one who wins the gold coin is said to be lucky in the new year. After the year changes, the man of the house breaks a pomegranate at the entrance of the home as a sample of good luck for the new year.
The above is just a small sample of the customs that exist and are reverently observed in the Halkidiki villages during the Christmas celebrations because, as the American orator Robert Ingersoll said: «Custom meets us at the cradle and leaves us only at the tomb ».