Christmas now and then

Throughout the two thousand years of Christianity many Christmas traditions have remained unchanged, while others have been altered or have deteriorated. It would be interesting to follow the journey of customs and analyze them.

First of all, past and present traditions, concerning practical expressions of the Christian belief have either changed or remained the same throughout centuries. More specifically, singing carols on the previous day of Christmas and New Year by children is rooted in the past and has continued until today. Making sweets such as ‘’melomakarona’’ (whose origin is Byzantine) or ‘’diples’’ (whose origin is from Peloponnese) are still prepared in most households. In addition, ‘’vasilopita’’ with a golden coin inside it , alludes to the miracle of Saint Basil in Byzantine years, who made small buns with jewellery in them  in order to return it fairly to all the residents of Kesaria, who had been robbed of it. However, decorations have been influenced by the West, since most people do not decorate a ship but a Christmas tree, which originates from West Germany.

On the other hand, traditions which refer to the very essence of Christmas and its spiritual dimension seem to have deteriorated, especially in the past decades. Its seems that the emphasis is placed on a more materialistic and superficial approach. For example, we rush to buy presents, food and decorations, thus missing the deeper meaning of Christmas. Furthermore, traditionally Greeks used to fast on New Year’s Eve in order to go to church and take communion on Christmas Day. Instead, many people prepare a feast and revel on Christmas Eve. Moreover, Christmas is influenced by consumerism with shops selling decorations from October. However, something that still exists in Greece is being charitable and generous towards others who are in need.

In conclusion, despite the consumeristic and stressful way of life which has ‘’infected’’ Christmas, I believe that soon Greeks will feel tired and will return to the traditional way of celebrating Christmas. We might realize that the cultivation of our inner world, the sense of devotion and offering love to others and your family are the way to true happiness.


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