Cyprus officially the Republic of Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union.
Cyprus is located east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and the Gaza Strip, and north of Egypt.
Christmas Celebrations in Cyprus :
Christmas in Cyprus is traditionally a solemn, religious holiday, and people love nothing better than to celebrate our holidays with food. Some customs, remaining unchanged for years and will remain the same for many years to come. The Christmas period is a religious holiday, the Cypriot people honor Christ. The Holy Twelve days of Christmas, six days in the “old” year and six days in the “new” year, includes the three feast days – Christmas day, New Year’s Day and Epiphany. The twelve days of Christmas correspond to the twelve months of the year. The season begins on the 6th December with the feast of Saint Nicholas and ends 6th January with the feast of Epiphany.
Before Christmas arrives, the housewives start the preparations for the twelve holy days. The houses are cleaned and painted in and out and from top to bottom. Then the houses is decorated with all the beautiful decorative things.
Christmas Day has the traditional turkey as a part of the Christmas dinner. Along with this there are lot more interesting and delicious food on the dinner table like cakes, different sweets, pudding, etc.
The children get their presents on New Year’s Day as Santa Claus is “Ayios Vasilis” whom is celebrated on this day. The children wake really early on New Year’s Day and rush to cut the cake, for someone to find the coin. The person who finds the coin will be lucky all year. After the cake cutting, it’s time for presents.
On the 6th January, the children would again rise early and go to their grandparents (Papu and YiaYia) homes. After reciting a small poem, the children receive gifts or money.
Christ was baptized in the River Jordon on Epiphany Day (The Feast of Light) which is the 6th January. After mass at church, the Priest will visit the houses to cleanse them of the demons that come on Christmas Day and play evil tricks. In all seaside towns or villages, it is traditional for the Priest to lead a procession down to the sea where the ceremonial Baptism is enacted. Suring the ceremony, the leading Priest will cast the Holy Cross into the sea and young men dive into the sea to try to retrieve the cross and returning it to the Priest.
Mischievous and even dangerous sprites called “Kalikantzari” (or Calicantzari) according to myth; prey upon people only during the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve to Epiphany Day, on January, 6th. On the night on the 5th of December, it is traditional to lay out an offering on the doorstep (traditionally a plate of sweet honey balls or lokmades) to appease the kalikantzeri, and make sure they do not trouble you through the coming year.
Notable Christmas celebrations is Cyprus take place in bigger and populated cities like Nicosia (Capital of Cyprus), Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Kyrenia, Famagusta, etc.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!