You see, Merry Christmas in Greek is “Καλά Χριστούγεννα” but we say this to each other until the Christmas day.
On Christmas day, we say “Χρόνια Πολλά” which literally means “Years many” (Years many to live and prosper is probably the message here).
We tend to use the “all-purpose” wish “Χρόνια Πολλά”, in birthdays, on name days and religious celebrations.
Why? Well, because when we wish using the adjective “good”: καλός, καλή, καλό (with the proper ending each time), it is usually for things or events that haven’t happened yet. Once they happen, they belong to the past.
An example is “καλό κούρεμα” (happy haircut - yes, there's a wish for that) Once you have your hair cut, there’s no need to say “καλό κούρεμα” anymore, right?
Καλά Χριστούγεννα actually means “Have a good Christmas day”. Once the day is here (and Christ is already born), “Χρόνια Πολλά” takes its place.
The same with the wish “Καλή Πρωτοχρονιά”: Have a Happy New Year’s day. Once the day is here, the year has started so we switch to “Καλή Χρονιά”: Happy New Year instead.
Of course, when we meet people for the first time and it’s still January, or when we simply want to wish Happy New Year, we can keep the wish “Καλή Χρονιά”.
For the Epiphany, simply say one more time “Χρόνια Πολλά” on January 6th.
Bonus info: Wish to your Greek friend on the phone.
How about calling your Greek friends and family on the phone to wish them in Greek?
A call is very much appreciated by Greeks - on name days and celebrations, the phone is ringing non stop.
# 3 Greek Christmas food
Isn't this everyone’s favourite part?
From savoury to sweet, traditional and local to non-traditional, Greek Christmas food is something that brings beautiful, warm memories. It’s not just about the food, but about the gatherings and the sharing.
But what’s so special about Greek Christmas food, compared to other days or celebrations?
On Christmas day pork, greens, salads, roast potatoes and the large variety of Greek pies is what Greeks have traditionally.
The special bread we make and set on the table is named “Χριστόψωμο”: Christ’s bread and it’s a bread made with honey, spices and nuts, decorated with shapes made out of dough.
The turkey dish has been added to the Greek festive table the last few decades. It can be the traditional dish for many families nowadays.
The family gets together on December 25th and the Christmas lunch starts the same time as lunch does in Greece; around 2 pm or even later.
On the New Year’s eve everyone - and I mean everyone, adults and kids alike - stays up until at least midnight.
This is the moment to cut the “βασιλόπιτα”: Saint Basil’s pie. In this special pie (which can be a cheese pie or even a vanilla cake) we hide a coin.
Whoever finds it in their piece has good luck for the whole year. Or so we like to hope!