Christmas is just around the corner and people all over the world are getting ready for the festivities of the holiday season. In each country, the traditions may be a little different, but we all have our own customs that we love. Decorating a tree in our homes, putting up sparkling lights, singing traditional Christmas songs and carols, and enjoying a huge feast on Christmas Day.
Cyprus is a magical place at Christmas, and while you may not have a white Christmas, unless you head up to the top of the Troodos mountains, you will certainly enjoy a Christmas packed full of wonderful traditions and customs.
A Christmas in Cyprus is probably best known for the wonderful festive foods that abound at this time of year, but there are many more customs too. Here are 5 of the most well known…
Burning Olive Leaves to find true love
On New Year’s Day, it is traditional to throw olive leaves into the fire while reciting the name of someone you love. If the leaves spark and jump about, then that person loves you back!
A wealth of celebrations
In Cyprus, Christmas Day is a wonderful day of church services, feasting and fun. Gifts are usually given on New Year’s Day and there are also many celebrations on January 6th, Epiphany Day. The festive season certainly lasts a long time in Cyprus, so if you love Christmas, it’s the perfect place to be.
Risking a chill for the cross
On Epiphany Day, there are several celebrations of water throughout the island. One of these involves a priest throwing a wooden cross into Paphos harbour. Many people then leap into the cold water and try to find the cross. It is said that the one who finds it will have a year full of luck.
The naughty Kallikantzaroi
In Cyprus, you must beware of the naughty elves who cause trouble around Christmas time in their efforts to spoil our Christmas fun. To get rid of these pesky nuisances, you must bake some delicious honey syrup sweets known as loukoumades. You should proceed to throw a handful of them onto your roof to feed the Kallikantzario. Only then they will go away and leave you in peace.
A visit to the Grandparents
Another Epiphany Day tradition is for children to visit their grandparents. On arrival they open their hands and say a rhyme which translates as ‘Good morning on the day of light but first give us our presents’. They then await their present which is usually a gift of money.
A wonderful holiday destination
There’s no denying that Cyprus is a picture perfect holiday destination for the festive season. The towns are beautifully decorated and illuminated and there’s a truly special feel at this wonderful time of the year. It’s so peaceful and calm, it’s the perfect place and time to visit for a relaxing wellness break or for a period of recuperation. With a wealth of high quality healthcare facilities on the island, a winter trip for your medical treatment puts you in the perfect place for a wonderful post-treatment holiday.
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Cyprus Health Services Promotion Board
38, Grivas Dhigenis,& 3, Deligiorgis str.
1509 Nicosia, Cyprus
Tel: +357 22 88 98 90
Fax:+357 22 66 75 93