The Most Popular New Year’s Traditions in Greece

Do you ever wonder what people in Greece are up to for the New Year’s holiday? The country and its people are so passionate about their culture and traditions, that it is no wonder there are so many New Year traditions for the holiday that is known in Greece as “Prothronia.” Let’s take a look at some of the most popular New Year traditions in Greece!

Firework Shows:

These shows of glitter and magic light up the skies all across the country in many cities and villages. The shows are different all over the country, but they are all magnificent to watch and Greeks young and old enjoy the displays!

Vassilopita Cake for Saint Basil:
January 1 is New Year’s Day as well as Saint Basil’s Day. Greeks bake a coin into the cake that is then sliced up and served. The first cut goes to Jesus and then the rest to the family – you can even cut slices for family members who are not present, as well as one for ‘the house.’

Playing Cards:

Since New Year Day is a day of good fortune, many Greeks try their luck at card games. From the big metropolitan cities to the snowy hillside villages, you will see people of young and old playing cards as they bring in the new year. Nowadays, many people go out to the casinos as well!

Carolers Bring Good Luck to Your Home:
Carolers play the triangle and sing “Kalanda” as they visit the homes in their neighborhoods.

It is customary to give the children money when they come to your door. The songs are thought to bless your house for the new year and is therefore considered good luck if a caroler visits you. This is a very old tradition that continues to live on throughout the entire country!

Try to Be the First Guest at Someone’s House:
If you are fortunate enough to be the first guest at someone’s home on New Year’s Day, you are considered to be lucky. The catch is that on New Year’s Eve the head of the household will usually request a family member to bring a guest the following day whom they consider to bring good luck.

Ships and Traditional Songs on Chios:
On Chios it is tradition for islanders to make detailed (and large) model ships which the fisherman carry throughout the villages to the sea while singing traditional island songs. It is a project in which the entire family participates and is an old custom on this Aegean island. Many of the islands have traditions that involve boats as Greeks have very deep ties to the sea.