The Christmas and New Year period in Cyprus is a special time for Cypriots and visitors alike. Entwined in tradition and religious celebration, it's a time for spending quality time with friends and family. With temperatures around the 20 degree mark, Christmas is celebrated with (literal) warmth and festive cheer. What a wonderful time of the year to escape to Aphrodite's Island with your loved ones to celebrate and soak up the amazing atmosphere.
The festive season starts on the 6th December and lasts until the 6th January. Many Christian Greek Cypriots endure a period of forty days of fasting prior to Christmas, so the subsequent Christmas feast is a hearty affair. On Christmas Eve, loaves of Christopsomo (Christ Bread) are eaten and children visit neighbouring houses to sing Kalanda (Greek carols) and offer good wishes to others.
On Christmas Day, dishes such as stuffed turkey, chicken and roast lamb are eaten and it's a time for family and friends to come together.
New Year's Day has particular significance for Greek Cypriots, as this is the day of Ayios Vasilis (St Basil), the Greek Santa Claus. Children receive their gifts on New Year's Day. In the evening, once the children have gone to bed, a cake called Vasilopitta (Santa's cake) with a coin inside it and a glass of wine are placed by the Christmas tree. Ayios Vasilis drinks the wine, blesses the cake and places presents around the tree. In the morning the cake is cut and the one who finds the coin will have good luck for the coming year.
Travelling to Cyprus with your friends and family for Christmas and New Year is a refreshing change from the chillier North European climate. How wonderful to dine on your Christmas feast on a terrace or balcony with your nearest and dearest, spending time sharing stories and catching up with one another and having the opportunity to explore Cyprus and revel in its culture at such a lovely time of the year!
Tempted? Why not consider one of our apartments and make this year's festive season something really unique. Monarch have added additional flights to their itinerary for the festive period, so there's even more reason to opt for Christmas 2010 Cyprus style!