Christmas all over the world is steeped in tradition with many different customs being followed in different countries. Cyprus is no exception with a wealth of festive customs to discover when you spend Christmas on this amazing island. Here are some of the fascinating Christmas customs and traditions of Cyprus…
The naughty Christmas pixies
On Christmas eve in Cyprus, the mischievous pixies arrive! For the twelve days of Christmas, these naughty little creatures play tricks and jokes and generally run riot! If something goes missing in the home during this time, you know exactly who will be blamed for hiding it! However, there is a way to keep the pixies at bay, and that is to have an olive branch blessed at the local church, then hang it outside your door. If you do spot a troublesome pixie, then waving a strand of red thread at it should soon send it packing!
Double the presents
Children in Cyprus get a really good deal at Christmas, and presents are generally given out both on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. On Christmas Eve, the gifts come from Santa, but on New Year’s Eve St Basil brings the presents. It’s also traditional for grandparents to give their grandchildren a gift of money on January the 6th.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a traditional Christmas dinner, and here in Cyprus, the meat of choice isn’t turkey, but instead pork is the most popular option. It is served in a most delicious manner, soaked in wine for several days, compressed under stones then smoked over the fire. Pork meat soup is also traditionally eaten after church on Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve carols
As in many other countries, Christmas Eve brings magical candlelit church services to attend, as well as carol singing for the children.
Endless sweet delights
There are so many wonderful sweet treats baked around Christmas time in Cyprus that you can try! There’s the honey biscuits called melamakarona, syrup drenched almond biscuits known as daktyla, and kourambiades, a special Christmas shortbread biscuit sprinkled with sugar.
The idea of decorating a tree in the home for Christmas is a tradition in Cyprus where many people bring a tree indoors over the festive period and cover it with lights and baubles.
Christmas shopping made easy
In Cyprus, getting ready for Christmas is a breeze because the shops do half of the hard work for you! Not only will they provide free batteries for any items requiring them, they’ll also gift wrap your presents for you, saving you lots of time to do other things such as sampling those sweet treats we mentioned earlier.