The Greek Christmas Carols, called “Kalanda” in Greek, is a very old custom that remains unchanged until today. Children in groups knock on the doors of houses, ask “Shall we tell them?” and sing the carols accompanied by triangles or other musical instruments. When they finish, the homeowners give them sweets or money and they exchange wishes. Different Carols are sung on the eves of Christmas, New Year and Epiphany. Even for Christmas there are different carols in various parts of Greece, with the following being the most popular all over the country.
Good evening noble people
Christ is being born today
Inside the cave (He) is being born
A crowd of angels are singing,
From Persia three magi are coming
In the house we have come
Καλήν εσπέραν άρχοντες,
Χριστός γεννάται σήμερον,
Εν τω σπηλαίω τίκτεται,
Πλήθος αγγέλων ψάλλουσι,
Εκ της Περσίας έρχονται,
Σ’ αυτό το σπίτι που ‘ρθαμε,
The Carols painted by Nikiphoros Lytras-1872
Nikiphoros Lytras was one of the greatest Greek painters, born on the island of Tinos, who painted the famous painting of “ Christmas Carols”.
He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Munich and was a professor at the School of Fine Arts in Athens. His paintings were inspired from Greek history and mythology as well as Greek traditions and everyday life. The painting shown is called “Christmas Carols” and is one of his most famous. Looking at the painting carefully, you can see children from various origins, nationalities and costumes (observe the drummer) as well as a statuette down on the right that resembles the Winged Victory of Samothrace, currently displayed at the Louvre.