The Christmas Tree The Christmas tree is a tradition which … Our ancestors used to offer Gods the “festive bread” during the rural festivals, like the Thalysia or the Thesmophoria. Pagan religions had a vast reverence for trees. Santa Claus, who travels around the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, is another impressive similarity. From Christmas until the Epiphany Day (January 6th), they come up to the world and tease people with … In fact, the traditional Melomakarona cookies, meaning Christmas cookies, tend to be created using a number of popular Greek spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and orange. All year round, they live underground and saw the tree of the year. The Greek Christmas season last 12 days, from Christmas to the Epiphany which is January 6. Each gamma represents one of the four Evangelists, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) who radiate from the central Greek Cross, which represents Christ. It is possible that the 25th of December was chosen to mark Jesus’ birth to correspond with this popular ancient pagan festival. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCLnie3HPMg. Some Saturnalia traditions, like gift-giving, hanging garlands, and lighting candles, likely were absorbed into the celebration of Christmas. some ancient Greek festivals influenced the development of early Christian religious customs surrounding the feast of the Nativity of Christ? Even pagan Greece and Rome had their versions of Christmas. A similar tradition also existed during the celebration of Dionysus in ancient Greece who resembled light. ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthys) is an acronym/acrostic for “Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”, which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”. Timed to coincide with the winter solstice, there may be some similarities with Scandinavian traditions, but Saturnalia had its origins in ancient Italy and shared some customs … the Christmas Tree tradition began in Constantinople, during the time of the Byzantine Empire and was then carried north? The Gammadion Cross 卐 is formed by a group of four Greek lettergamma (Γ), the capitalised third letter of the Greek alphabet. From that time on, trees were associated with Christianity in Germany, leading to the Christmas tree tradition we see today. Are Greece-Turkey Talks the Nail in the Coffin of Turkish Sanctions? 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Wine as pharmakon: Persian drinking in the Histories, Armillary Spheres: Following Celestial Objects in the Ancient World, The Much Beloved but Little Known Poet: Sappho, Christmas: Its Origins in Ancient Greece and Rome, Christmas Traditions in the Ancient World, Roman festival in honor of the god Saturn, Top Ten: Most Terrifying Monsters Of Greek Mythology, Five Reasons Why Socrates Was A Terrible Husband, Prometheus The Creation of Man and a History of Enlightenment. We can find a variety of similarities in the commemoration of the birth of Christ and Dionysus between ancient and contemporary Greece. “Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on in modern times,” the article said. Christmas is a very popular holiday tradition that is celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. Virgin Mary Snakes in Cephalonia. Ancient Greek architectural designs are replete with the interlinking symbol. It became globally known in the 19th century. Greek tradition of Carolling. From Christmas Day until the Feast of the Epiphany, on January 6, Greeks watch over their homes especially carefully, looking for moved items or stolen Christmas goodies. The Christmas tree tradition made its way to Greece in 1833, when the Bavarians decorated the palace of King Otto. the “Fish – ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthys)” were used as secret Christian symbols. This Roman festival in honor of the god Saturn was held from the middle to late December. At midnight,… In Florina, a northern Greek city, the town has a tradition every Christmas eve whereby dozens of large fires are set in the main part of the city. In ancient Greece, carols symbolized joy, wealth and peace, and the children sang the carols only in the homes of the rich. David Duke Wishes You a White Christmas! Ancient Greek priestesses would tattoo the symbol, along with the tetraskelion, on their bodies. Modern Christmas is not an entirely new set of traditions — many of them are borrowed from antiquity. Traditionally there is a fasting period 40 days before Christmas. For this reason, celebrations such as Christmas incorporated many ancient Roman traditions. Folklore expert Evangelos Karamenes spoke to Culture Trip about the most popular Greek Christmas traditions to have survived the centuries. Another important part of Christmas — Santa Claus — is also borrowed from ancient Greek tradition. Troy: Fall of a City or Fall of Accuracy? In some areas, the holiday is … Christmas is generally considered a Christian celebration, so it may surprise you that many of its traditions have roots in ancient civilizations. Then, the chariot transformed into a sleigh and horses transformed into reindeer. The children brought the olive branch to their homes and hung it on the doors where it remained for the rest of the year. Tag Archives: Ancient Greek and Roman tradition Christmas: Its Origins in Ancient Greece and Rome. Sung in the homes of wealthy Greeks, the carols were associated with prosperity, joy, and peace. Christmas boat. Kalanda has been a part of Christmas celebrations in Greece for thousands of years and goes back to Byzantine times where children would carry small boats and sing songs honoring Dionysius. Culture Early Greek literature included stories that taught lessons and long poems that told of adventures. The tree was adorned first with fruits and later with clothes and other household objects. According to History.com, many modern Christmas traditions are more modern than we think. Swastika mosaic in Byzantine church in present day Judeo-Khazar Israel. The ancient superpower made it a state religion and helped it grow exponentially. Greek Country Salad (Horiatiki Salata) In Greek: χωριάτικη σαλάτα, say: hoh-ree … In Ancient Greece, the harvest wreath was a sacred amulet, using wheat or other harvested plants, woven together with red and white wool thread. Late on Saturday night, before midnight all … The most well-known custom throughout the Christian world are the Christmas carols that have roots deriving from ancient Greece. Is Covid-19 Triggering a Populist Backlash in Greece? What is known about Dionysian carols? theological terms it means any teaching or practice which has been transmitted from generation to generation throughout the life of the Church Every country celebrates with different customs that have deep roots within history and tradition. There was a large tree in central Germany which was so highly revered it was thought the world would end if it was cut down. Why Greece Was Less Effective in Dealing with Covid’s Second Wave. All Rights Reserved. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Swastika_symbol_in_ancient_greek_doll.JPG. The faithful would not eat animal or related products. The hobgoblins are known as kallikantzari in Greek. It wouldn't be Christmas in Kozani (and other cities … While the Christmas Turkey is becoming a popular meat for dish for this time of the year, the pig is the traditional meat of choice for the Greek Christmas feast, especially in northern Greece. The Big Dilemma: Should COVID-19 Vaccines be Mandatory? An especially Greek Christmas tradition is the decorating of a karakavi, of a small sea vessel. Christmas Traditions in Greece. Hints of melody? Our apologies, you must be logged in to post a comment. In alchemy, the gammadion was used to symbolise the four cardinal corners of the world and the guardianship of this world. Therefore they believed it was important to honour gods; did so with statues, temples, events.Monthly holy days included the festival of Nou… This does not however negate the fact that the Gammadion cross 卐 was used by early Christians as a secret Christian symbol, just as other symbols e.g. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on in modern times. Written by Titus, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom. Given this article discusses the roots of some Christmas traditions with between Ancient Greece, here are some other interesting links between Hellenism and Christianity. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ShaveyZion1.jpg, I don’t think Gammadion has anything to do with Christianity. Midnight Church Service & Candles. St. Boniface cut down the tree to discredit the pagan belief and help spread Christianity in the region. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkrH_FdCWPo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCLnie3HPMg, http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ShaveyZion1.jpg. Children would go from house to house, holding an olive or a laurel branch adorned with wool (a symbol of health and beauty) and different kinds of fruits. According to the folk Christmas traditions, the hobgoblins are short, ugly creatures with many deformities. Yes, we all enjoyed the father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” who claimed all English words came from the Greek. Specifically, Homer — during his stay on the island of Samos, along with a group of children — composed the carols. In ancient times, the city of Florina would begin these fires in appreciation for the sun god. The Christmas tree appeared for the first time in Germany at the end of the 16th century. the festive Christmas period begins in November and ends in January? Harvest wreaths were an important symbol to the community in Ancient Greece, not merely to the farmer and his family. The Greeks had their own Santa who rode on a chariot that turned into a sleigh while its horses would turn into flying horses. Tags: Ancient Greek and Roman tradition, Christmas. Christmas has been around in one form or another throughout the ages. Greeks believed angry gods could cause trouble for humans. In ancient Greece, carols symbolized joy, wealth and peace, and the children sang the carols only in the homes of the rich. The New Year’s cake is also the evolution of an ancient Greek custom. The culture and traditions of the ancient Greeks have similarities to modern-day societies, although some customs were very different. The priest of Dionysus held a pastoral staff as did the Good Shepherd. By Edward Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom The modern world owes so much to the Greeks and the Romans, they influenced how we live and our society in so many ways. For instance, now we think that Christmas is … As this is a maritime country, the Greeks traditionally decorate … The Kallikantzaroi, is one such story, which has become a Greek Christmas tradition Kallikantzaroi, plural (Kallikantzaros singular) are mischievous Greek goblins, elves or gnomes, that appear during the twelve days of Christmas, from the end of December until Epiphany, January sixth. The history of the Christmas tree dates back to medieval Germany. This popular celebration is of course linked closely to … How did the tradition of putting up Christmas trees start? Perhaps the most similar thing to Christmas in the ancient world was the celebration of the birth of Dionysus, which took place on the 30th of December in Greece. The Greeks honoured their gods by worshiping them and by holding festivals and games in their honour. At the time, Germany was still largely pagan and St. Boniface was a missionary there. Illuminated boats, roasted pork and honey cookies are all staples of a Greek Christmas. The Greeks had their own Santa who rode on a chariot that turned into a sleigh while its horses would turn into flying horses. Epiphany, celebrated on January 6, is the feast for the Roman Church that commemorates the visit of the Wise Men, the magi. Disclaimer Terms of Publication Privacy Policy and Cookies Sitemap RSS Contact Us, Comment by isaac42 on December 24, 2020 at 1:14 am, Greek Inventions That Changed the World for Good. Because Greek society is so religious -- approximately 98 percent of Greece's population belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church -- many of the culture's traditional celebrations center around sacramental services in the church [source: U.S. State Department].. At birth, eldest children are named after a grandparent, an ancient tradition … Yiaprakia Stuffed Cabbage. While carols are sung today for Christmas, they were also sung for the birth of Dionysus. A POMEGRANATE, an ancient symbol of prosperity and good luck, is hung above the door throughout Christmas. Ancient Greeks also used to decorate the ancient temples with trees, symbolizing the divine gift offering. Like any great tradition, it has evolved through time. History.com states … There is one ancient Greek superstition is completely … Saturnalia is one example. The harvest wreath would be hung by the door year-round. In our religion, the Christmas tree symbolizes the rejoicing of the birth of Jesus Christ. This popular celebration is of course linked closely to Christianity and is intended to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, but people in nations with little or no Christian traditions are also celebrating this holiday in increasing numbers and, surprisingly, most of the Christmas … The Holly and the Mistletoe: Ancient Roots of Christmas Symbols Christmas is a very popular holiday tradition that is celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. The name gammadion comes from the fact that it can be seen as being made up of four Greek gamma (Γ) letters. Turkey is a big part of Greek Christmas food customs, and it is common to find this bird on most Greek Christmas tables. Many involve plants. In modern Christmas traditions, Santa travels the world on a sleigh that is pulled by flying reindeers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkrH_FdCWPo, The War on Christmas – New HD version The tradition of praising the head of household also began in Ancient Greece. 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