Continuing the Christmas theme, I thought you might like to read about some Greek/Cypriot traditions and customs at this festive time of year.....
Traditionally, Santa comes to Cyprus on New Years Eve. We forgive him for being late as we know how busy he is, plus he IS Cypriot! In Cyprus he is known as ‘Ayios Vasilis’, thus was born the cake, ‘VASILOPITA’ aptly named after him. When the cake is baked, a coin is wrapped in Silver foil and thrown into the mix. On New Years Eve the cake is sliced and distributed amongst family and friends. Legend and tradition would have us believe that the lucky person who finds the coin in his/her slice should put it into their wallet/purse for the whole of the year thus assuring them of no money shortage for at least that year. Don’t forget to save a slice for Santa to have with his glass of wine. (No milk for our Santa!)
These naughty and nasty elf like creatures are known to enter your house via your chimney (if you have one) and cause all kinds of havoc! They can put out your roaring fire, sour your milk, pinch your Vasilopita, and hide the keys to the Mercedes. They are particularly active from the period 25th Dec to 6th Jan. A traditional housewife will tell you there are a couple of things you can do to ward off these nasty imps. If you take a sprig of the herb ‘Basil’ and wrap it around a crucifix then use it to sprinkle ‘Holy water’ all around the house, (every day before breakfast J), you are assured of a Kalikanzaro free zone. Alternatively, make a batch of ‘Loukoumades’ (a Honey drenched doughnut type sweet), And throw them up onto your roof, it will keep the critters busy and away from your chimney. Try not to eat all of them!
So....everybody has opened their presents and the kids have demanded their ‘POULOUSTRINA’ (A money gift traditionally given by the Grandparents), and you are all sitting around the fireplace. There is a quaint tradition coming.......
If you want to know if Elleni or Costas up the road in the village fancies you, you take a few Olive leaves and cast them into the flames.
Should they crackle or jump out again you are assured that the person who has your heart DOES fancy you. If by some strange twist of fate the leaves just burn away silently....don’t despair , it’s because the leaves were too fresh and Green :)
Have a great Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Well you know I'm an Author, so you keep reading, and I will keep writing :)