Each country around the world has its own ways of welcoming the fresh year and celebrating these moments. Likewise, New Year in Greece is celebrated as a grand festival with family gatherings, fireworks, and parties in every corner. So if you are planning on enjoying this Greece New Year 2020, you will be captivated by the glamour, loveliness, the beauty of the revealing new year. No matter the kind of person you are, there is something for every type of traveler in you.
8 Things To Do During New Year In Greece
There are many cultures that locals perform during Greek New Year and New Year’s Eve, that are very unique and interesting. Some of them are noted below so that you can familiarize yourself with the culture there.
- Vasilopita – Greek New Year Cake
- Kali Hera – Exchanging gifts and singing carols
- Hanging pomergranate
- Hanging onions
- Playing cards
- Camping in Mani
- Fireworks display
- New Year Countdown
1. Vasilopita – the cutting of new year cake
The first day of January is not just for new year celebration but is also Saint Basil’s day. This is the very few primordial practices in Greece that is still continuing. For the ceremonies, the cake is first baked with a coin hidden inside. Later the first slice is served to Jesus, the second to the home and the rest to the family. The person who gets the slice with a coin is said to be the lucky one of the year. It is believed to bless your house for a year and is a sign of good omen. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It is really an important part of Greek new year traditions. The restaurants in Greece also serve special Greek New Year meal if you are up for it.
2. Kali Hera – Gifts giving and Singing carols
There are plenty of ways how Greece new year celebration takes place, but this ones’ special and very widespread among children. The children from the close family members are given with some money as a gift. However, nowadays some prefer to give toys and other suitable stuff as toy shops can be easily found across Greece. This custom is also for families to exchange their gifts. Also, It is a popular Greek tradition to sing carols. Children visit neighbor’s home, play triangles and Sing “New Year’s Kalanda”. The neighbors give money to the children as a gift.
3. Hanging Pomegranate
It is a Greek ritual to hang a pomegranate on the front door of the house at night of New Year’s Eve in Greece. At midnight the family moves away from the house and after midnight one lucky member (mostly child) re-enter the house stepping with right foot. It is believed that the first person to step foot inside the house will bring good luck for everyone in the house. During the entry of the first person after midnight, another member smashes the pomegranate. Tradition says that more the seeds fall on the ground more fortune and luck will enter the house.
4. Hanging Onions
People in Greece involve themselves in lots of rituals that are thought to bring luck and prosperity throughout the year. Hanging onions on the door in every family is among them. After the family attends the day church service at the New Year’s Eve in Greece, they bring an onion to home and hang it at the door of the house. The onion, as per the Greek mythology represent growth and rebirth as they are regarded as highly fertile and productive. This feeling of kindness and generosity is said to endorse success, prosperity, and luck.
5. Playing Cards
Greek people believe New Year brings luck and fortune. Many people play cards and enjoy their time with family and friends on Greek new year. The tradition of playing cards lasts for until early morning hours. Board games, dice, and the State lottery are also played as a symbol of luck. If the cultures there make you wanna pack up your stuff and fly to be a part of Athens Greece new years eve 2020 or in any other part of the country.
6. Camping In Mani
If you are not a party person, then you could go camping in Greece on New Year. The beach in Mani calls out all the hipsters and camping lovers to spend the last night of the year by lighting a bonfire and singing with close friends and new Greek friends. It is one of the most unique ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Greece ever. Winters are mild in Greece. So, you don’t have to worry about freezing to death at night. Also, Mani Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.
Location: Mani, Greece
7. Firework Demonstrations
Once the midnight approaches the most awaited moment for many children and adult approaches. Thousands of fireworks light up the entire sky of Greece to bring a beautiful view and bright lights all over. This definitely will bring awe in you and the shows are all different from city to city and are all glorious to watch. If you are in the capital, Athens new year eve is just as happening. However, If you are looking for something entertaining and lively for the entire family then this would be what you are looking for.
8. New Year Countdown
The official countdown of Athens new year’s eve 2020 organized by the Municipality of Athens, with the support of Athens Culture Net and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation takes place in Thiseio. The programme will be hosted by some of Greece’s most renowned and notable singers, actors, TV personalities and celebrities. Multiple Musical/Orchestra bands shall perform on that day including the Circus school of Athens and the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra.
Suggested Read: 12 Best Resorts In Greece That Make You Feel Like Royalty
4 Places To Visit In Greece During New Year
Here are some of the options to consider for this year’s new year in Greece 2020 for moments filled with utmost joy and excitement which can be treasured forever:
- Parnassos Ski Resort
- Syntagma Square
1. Parnassos Ski Resort
Amongst hundreds of ways to celebrate the day, the more unusual but the most exciting one is spending the day skiing at the Parnassos Ski Resort. The resort is about two hours far from the capital – Athens and opens up at night on the 31st. They host lists of free activities from mini carousel, games, play park and theatre. It is perfect for couples to step aside crowd and enjoy peaceful nature on New Year.
How to reach: Book a taxi from Athens to Mount Parnassos. The nearest train station is Amfiklia.
The capital is said to be the most ancient and romantic cities in entire Europe. It’s the largest city of Greece and dominates the Attica region with a recorded history of around 3400 years. Athens new year’s eve is very fascinating in many ways as it is as grand and has a variety of celebrations all around the city. For those people who wish to celebrate Athens New Year’s Eve 2020 by avoiding crowds and traffic jams, try the local food taste, Mezedopoleio – a Greek cuisine expert restaurant would be an option. There are small and traditional establishment across the city on that offers a very informal combination of Greek appetizers – wine or spirits and live music. Experience the Greece nightlife at its best.
Best spots in town: The Parthenon, Plaka and Anafiotika, Syntagma Square
Where to stay: Wyndham Grand Athens, Royal Olympic Hotel
How to reach: Athens have direct flights from New Delhi and other cities in India.
Suggested Read: 10 Hotels in Greece That Are A Treat For The Senses!
At the end of the day, as the sun sets and the moon blooms, go for a walk and wander around Syntagma Square. And if you feel like giving a new kickstart to the year by having a luxurious start to 2020, then consider visiting Grande Bretagne where you can choose among Tudor Hall, Roof Garden or Winter Garden. Your choice might depend on whether you favor DJ set, String quartet or live jazz music. You coulf also head to other streets for shopping in Greece.
If you want to spend New Year’s Eve in Greece by partying all night, then it is a great idea to head to Thessaloniki. It is the second most vibrant city after Athens with an amazing nightlife. So, we don’t see a reason why you should not celebrate Greek New year here. You will find a number of brilliant spots where you enjoy with your friends in the evening. Some of them are open all night so that you can party till the dawn breaks
Best spots in town: Goldfish, Eightball, Tokyo City Bar
Where to stay: Egnatia Hotel, Electra Palace, Holiday Inn
How to reach: Thessaloniki has its own airport with direct flights from Athens. You could also take a train which takes about 4 hours to reach.
It’s time to pack your bags, get your New year vibes coming and prepare yourself to begin a New Year in Greece with all dazzle and sparks that the country has to offer. The countdown has begun for booking your tickets to Greece . Hope it brings you happy holidays along with an even better New Year!
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Frequently Asked Questions
A. On New Year’s Day in Greece, families get together for a big feast and it is on this day that St. Basil or Agios Vasilis deliver his gifts to children. It is the day that the traditional ‘Vasilopita’ is cut – a celebratory cake dedicated to St. Basil that is cut for good fortune.
A. The average temperature in December is 12°C (54°F), while the average low is 9°C (48°F), and the average high is 14°C (57°F).
A. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon, after the Vernal Equinox, which is the first day of spring.
A. New Year in Greece is celebrated on the night of December 31st. When the clock strikes midnight, it is the beginning of a new day and new year.
A. Greeks prepare reddened beef stew, tomato and orzo soup, Vasilopita, and Greek cabbage salad.
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