Christmas is a magical time in Cyprus, and if you’re lucky enough to be spending Christmas on this beautiful island, be sure to get involved and join in with some of the traditional Cypriot Christmas customs. In particular, you should certainly never miss out on the chance to enjoy some of the special Christmas sweets and treats that you’ll find around this time of year.
Enjoy traditional carol singing
Many nationalities enjoy singing carols at Christmas time and Cyprus is certainly no exception. If you’re in the Paphos area over Christmas, the annual Candlelit Christmas Carols Concert is a popular event that you really must not miss. It’s so uplifting and truly puts you in the Christmas spirit. You’ll find candles for sale at the event, so you can be part of the spectacle too.
Play the olive branch game
Ever wondered if someone truly loves you? At Christmas time in Cyprus you can find out, or so the story goes! All you need to do is pluck a leaf from an olive branch, sit by a fireplace and form the leaf into the shape of a cross. Then, you must think of the person you love and throw the cross into the fireplace and see what happens. If the leaf crackles and jumps about in the flames, then the person you love also loves you back!
Watch out for Kallikantzaroi, the naughty Christmas goblins
If something goes wrong over the Christmas period, if your keys go missing or a plate is broken, it could be the work of the Kallikantzaroi, the mischievous Christmas goblins. Thought to live in the centre of the earth, at Christmas time they venture into our homes through our chimneys and wreak havoc! There’s just one way to stop those pesky goblins from getting in your home and causing trouble, and that’s to keep a fire burning in the hearth so they can’t come down the chimney!
Warm-up with hot egg-lemon soup
Egg lemon soup is traditionally eaten on Christmas day. After a visit to the church, this delicious soup is readily eaten by all. Its velvety texture, with the divine aroma of lemons, is a real treat on a winter’s day. Families gather together to enjoy this traditional dish and revel in the festive spirit.
Be lucky for a year with a slice of Vasilopita
The fun traditions continue over the festive season and on New Years Day, the Vasilopita, or St. Basil’s Cake is cut and shared, usually enjoyed with a glass of red wine. Each cake has a coin hidden in it during the baking process. Whomever gets the slice with the coin in it, is said to be blessed with good luck for the coming year. But even if you don’t find the coin, you’re still lucky as Vasilopeta cake is utterly delicious!
A Happy Christmas to All!
Yes, Christmas in Cyprus is certainly a special time and we do hope you’ll be joining us now, or perhaps in the new year, but wherever you choose to be during the festive season, we wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from the Cyprus Healthcare Services Team.
Sign up to receive our email updates from time to time