‘Tis the season to be jolly
The island of Ithaca celebrates the Christmas season the way most people do around the world do – with family and food (a lot of food). The island settles down, life centres around quality family time and preparing for Christmas day. It is a time when the locals of the island slow down the pace and get to enjoy the fruits of their labour over the busy summer months.
The days leading up to Christmas are filled with excitement and an uplifting festive spirit can be felt. Each village on the island decorate their village/town square with lights and a Christmas tree. As Greece is a maritime country and the most of its islands have a strong seafaring heritage, the tradition was to decorate boats for Christmas as opposed to trees. This tradition of decorating a tree was only introduced to Greece by King Otto, the first King of the country who was of Bavarian origin. The age-old tradition of decorating boats still survives to this day, especially on the islands.
Preparing for Christmas day involves spending a good part of your day in the kitchen baking traditional Christmas sweets and pastries. Melomakarona and Kourabiedes are the most well-known sweet pastries and should you not have your hand at baking, these delights can be found at your local shop or bakery a few weeks before Christmas.
A vasilopita (St. Basil cake) is baked for New Year’s Eve. This citrus cake has a coin inside, tradition has it that the person who finds the coin is considered lucky in the year to come. The cake is dedicated to Saint Basil who in the Greek tradition is Santa Claus, who would deliver presents to children on the first day of the new year.
In the bigger towns on the island, there are festivities organised on Christmas Eve for locals and tourists to enjoy. Food, drink and dancing are abundant, the night provides a true sense of community for all and sets the tone for Christmas day.
Christmas Day begins early with the exchanging of presents and family time before the preparing for the day ahead. The traditional foods include a lamb or goat roasted in the oven or on the spit, a variety of pies, local vegetables and salads.
Christmas Day on the island of Ithaca is all about family, it’s about quality time spent with your loved ones. It is a time to reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the prospects of the year to come.
Here are MV Properties, we would like to wish all our clients, loyal supporters, family and friends a Merry Christmas and may 2020 bring happiness, good health and abundance to all.