Popular Greek Traditions During The Holidays

Celebrations and holiday festivities are always unique in Greece! People gather with friends and family to enjoy traditional Greek customs, food, and culture during the holidays. From decorations to music to unique recipes, Greek families continue their centuries-old traditions year after year – making these events even more memorable. Here are some of the most famous Greek traditions observed during the holidays.


Gift Exchange

During the holiday season, Greeks exchange gifts as tokens of love and appreciation, as many people participate in Secret Santas or White Elephant exchanges. This tradition is rooted in ancient Greek mythology when Zeus gave all Olympians presents on each festival day.



Greeks don’t just decorate for Christmas; they also decorate their homes for other holidays like Easter. Painted ornaments, garlands hung from walls, and trees with handmade decorations help make a home feel warm and festive during special occasions. Many Greeks also hang “evil eye” charms around doorways as protection against bad luck entering the house.


Music And Dancing

Formal dances such as Syros (a circle dance) are often performed while singing carols accompanied by bouzoukis (stringed Greek instruments). Other more modern dances, such as Zeïmbekiko, have slowly found their way into holiday celebrations, bringing further joy to these festive occasions!


Traditional Foods And Snacks

There are a plethora of tasty dishes favored by Greeks during the holidays, from roasted chestnuts, traditional lamb stew or kokoretsi (offal wrapped in intestines)to baklava, melomakarona (honey cookies), and diples (pastry dipped in syrup). Whether it’s something sweet or savory, plenty of delicious plates bring joy to dinner tables across Greece!


Raffles And Games Of Chance

In addition to exchanging gifts amongst friends and family members, a raffle system is sometimes used where godparents or relatives give present prizes as lotteries tickets – with one lucky winner taking home all the goods! Gambling games such as blackjack can often be played at celebrations when everything else has been exhausted – adding an extra level of fun to any get-together amongst close companions.