Τετάρτη, 26 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

Christmas wishes

We wish you Merry Christmas and happy New Year !!

See you next summer in Crete !

Christmas carols from every corner of Greece (videos)

Greece is a country where traditions and customs are a part of modern, everyday life. Most holidays in Greece are celebrated traditionally, and Christmas in no exception.

Christmas caroling is very popular, and although you might hear any songs being sung at any given moment during the holiday season, there are actually three “official” caroling days in Greece.

The custom is that children go from house to house singing carols, with the accompaniment of a triangle, and residents of the houses give them small amounts of money. Greek Christmas carols (“calanda”) are always sung on the mornings of Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany.

Caroling has been a part of Christmas celebrations in Greece for two thousand of years. In fact, it has its roots going back even further, to ancient Greece, where children would carry small boats and sing songs honoring Dionysius.

The tradition of praising the head of the household also began in ancient Greece.
In addition to singing songs to honor their god, they would also bestow the household with a gift of an olive branch, which also signified prosperity.

Amazingly, many elements of this ancient tradition still exist today. Children often do still hold decorated wooden boats while singing the carols. And the sentiment is also the same – they wish the homeowners health, wealth, and prosperity by what they sing.

Different regions of Greece have their own versions of Christmas carols. Here is a sample of carols from the island of Crete:
(Source: thegreekobserver)

Recipe for Christopsomo – Greek Christmas Bread

Christopsomo is a cake that is typically served on Christmas Day in Greece. Preparing this bread as a Christmas treat is something that is said to help bring about the health and well being of all members of the household into the coming year. However, in order for this to hold true, only the best, most expensive ingredients are used. Legends aside, this bread is also delicious. Once you start making it, you’ll be eager to turn it into an annual tradition!

Greek Christmas Bread (Christopsomo) Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water (108 – 112 Degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons aniseed, crushed (or mahleb, if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions to Make Greek Christmas Bread:

Add water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar to a medium sized bowl and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Let sit until the mixture starts to foam, which should take about ten minutes.

Add butter and eggs to the yeast mixture and beat on medium speed using an electric mixer until the ingredients are well combined. Slowly beat in the rest of the sugar, 1 cup of the flour, and the aniseed until well combined. Turn off the mixer and stir in the remainder of the flour with a wooden spoon or your hands until dough is smooth and isn’t sticky.

Knead for five minutes in the bowl. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and add the dough. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray and cover it with a towel. Let the dough rise until doubled, which should take about two hours.

Punch down the dough to let out the air. Let stand for five minutes and then knead again for about three minutes to release the air bubbles. Form the dough into a loaf, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place the dough on the sheet. Let stand for about an hour on the counter, or until the size of the loaf doubles.

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the loaf with the whipped egg white. Place in the center of the oven and cook for 35 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.
(Source: thegreekobserver)