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Fill in the gaps with the right sentences to find out about unique Christmas customs in Greece.

Christmas in Greece

On Christmas Eve, children, especially boys, often go out singing ‘kalanda’ (carols) in the streets. They play drums and triangles as they sing. 1……………….. Carrying a boat is a very old custom in the Greek Islands. If the children sing well, they might be given money, nuts, sweets and dried figs to eat.

2 ……………….. Instead most houses will have a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire is suspended across the rim. A sprig of basil wrapped around a wooden cross hangs from the wire. Some water is kept in the bowl to keep the basil alive and fresh. 3………………..

This is believed to keep the ‘Killantzaroi’ (bad spirits) away. The Killantzaroi are meant to appear only during the 12-day period from Christmas to the Epiphany (January 6th). 4 ……………….. The Killantzaroi do things like putting out fires and making milk go off. Having a fire burning through the twelve days of Christmas is also meant to keep the Killantzaroi away.

Going to a Midnight Mass Service is very important for most Greeks. 5 ……………….. The main Christmas meal is often Lamb or pork, roasted in an oven or over an open spit. It’s often served with a spinach and cheese pie and various salads and vegetables. Other Christmas and new year foods include ‘Baklava’ (a sweet pastry made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey), Kataifi (a pastry made from a special form of shredded filo dough and flavored with nuts and cinnamon), Theeples (a kind of fried pastry).

6 ……………….. It’s a round sweet loaf and the crust is often decorated with what the family do for a living (if you’re a fisherman there would be fish, etc.). In Greece, presents are often brought to children by Saint Basil on the 1st January, which is known as St Vasilis’s Day in Greece.

7 ……………….. In the Greek Orthodox Church, Epiphany celebrates Jesus’s baptism when he was a man. There are many events throughout the country where young men dive into really cold lakes, rivers and the sea to try to be first to get a cross which has been blessed by a priest and thrown into the water. 8 ……………….. Epiphany festivals also include blessings of boats & ships, music, dancing and lots of food.

source: www.whychristmas.com

A. After the service people can go home and end their Advent fast.

B. A traditional table decoration are loaves of ‘christopsomo’ (Christ bread).

C. They are supposed to come from the middle of the earth and get into people’s house through the chimney!

D. People in Greece also celebrate Epiphany on the 6th January.

E. Whoever gets the cross first is meant to have good luck during the coming year.

F. Christmas Trees are becoming more popular in Greece, but they aren’t traditional.

G. Sometimes the will also carry model boats decorated with nuts which are painted gold.

H. Once a day, someone, usually the mother of the family, dips the cross and basil into some holy water and uses it to sprinkle water in each room of the house.

answers: 1-G 2-F 3-H 4-C 5-A 6-B 7-D 8-E

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