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In Greek folklore, the pomegranate has served as a symbol of strength since ancient times. During the countdown, minutes or seconds before the arrival of the new year, the hosts smash the pomegranate by hitting it with their right hand against their front door. It can be juiced or the seeds (arils) can be used for smoothies or to top salads, yogurt, or ice cream. Centuries old customs and Greek traditions that have accompanied us in every facet of our lives. Persephone, a deity we have talked about in the past, is also depicted holding a pomegranate. Visitgreece.gr is the official tourism web site for Greece, run by the Greek National Tourism Organisation, where you'll find information on the main tourist destinations, such as cities, beaches, as well as activities, events and much more! Some of them can be traced back to Greece’s pagan roots, others are related to the Christian Orthodox faith, and some have been adopted from other cultures and religions.Forget Christmas trees, Christmas carols, and Santa Claus. The latter then starts gushing the “silent” or “unspoken” water, as they call it. A Pomegranate Is Often the “New Fruit” on the Second Night of Rosh Hashanah. On New Year’s Day it is traditional to break a pomegranate … In modern times, Greek Orthodox tradition dictates that on New Year’s Day, the family members wear their Sunday best, go to church to attend the Divine Liturgy of Basil of Caesarea, and welcome the New Year. And of course all the Greek Christmas treats, which every household prepares at Christmas time. In Fylakopi, Milos Island, vessels were unearthed with pomegranate decorations on them (1650-1450 BC, National Archaeological Museum). The pomegranate tree has been known and appreciated since the ancient times; it is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, as a tree grown on the island of Scheria or Phaeacia in the gardens of King Alcinous. However, this custom is associated with the biblical three wise men (or Kings) who visited Jesus on the day of his birth rather than with Saint Basil. Saint Basil’s feast day is on 1st of January, so this is the day that Greeks usually exchange gifts. The “feeding of the water spring” (το τάισμα της βρύσης) could be described as an offering to a deity that is connected to the water element. Greek cosmetics companies, well-known for their use of Greek plants, make the most of pomegranate extracts in their anti-ageing skin-nourishing products. ( Log Out /  1, 8, 6; χρημάτων, Aristotle, pol. Retaining their ancient connection to the afterlife, the seeds are also used to decorate kollyva for funerals and memorial services in the Greek Orthodox Church. In certain regions, the unmarried women use the water to make predictions about the future, usually revolving around their marriage and future family. The seeds sink to the bottom and the membranes encasing them float. Herodotus, for example, informs us that during the Greco-Persian Wars, the Persian soldiers carried spears adorned with golden and silver pomegranates instead of spikes (Herodotus, Histories 7.41). Can the Deadly Earthquake Reduce Tensions Between Greece and Turkey? Since Persephone had only consumed the six seeds, it was decided that she would spend six months with Hades and then return to visit her mother on earth for the rest of the year. A priest from each village, town, or municipality visits the nearest coastline and sings hymns to bless the waters and protect the people working in the sea, such as fishermen, sailors, and mariners. Today, mindful that pomegranate juice stains, some seal the pomegranate in a plastic bag before smashing to avoid making a mess. The water is then used to heal someone who is sick. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. If you have ever visited Greece, then you know the importance of the sea in the country’s culture and economy. It … In more recent times, the pomegranate continues to symbolize fertility and good luck. So let’s discover all Greek Christmas traditions that make celebrating Christmas holidays in Greece so special. The pie has a hidden coin, real or fake, and the person who finds it in his/her piece is believed to be the luckiest of the year. If someone ends up getting red stains all over their clothes, he/she is believed to be the luckiest of the year. According to the legend, they roam the streets between Christmas and the 7th of January, just before the “Great Blessing of the Waters”. Freeze for at least two hours and then transfer to a freezer bag. They also represent fertility, eternity, and good fortune. Once removed from the membrane and peel, dry the seeds with paper towels and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. The pomegranate is a seasonal autumn and winter fruit in Greece. This vessel is put in display in the living-room and lit with various lights. A panhellenic custom that survives to this day is the smashing of the pomegranate on New Year’s eve. In Greek culture, the pomegranate holds much significance. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Greek Christmas carols (Kalanda) are the songs that are sung the three caroling days in Greece. Apart from vasilopita, there are also other traditional Christmas sweets, which are melomakarona, kourabiedes, and diples. Art But what did the Greeks decorate before the adoption of the Christmas tree? Its ritualistic nature and the act of making an offering to what appears to be an elemental deity can, however, lead us to the conclusion that it is rooted back to Greece’s pagan culture and religion. Goblins (Καλικάντζαροι) are believed to be chthonic tricksters that are only able to step foot on the Earth’s surface when the waters are “unbaptized”.

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