The Carols

“Shall we sing them?”
“Yes, sing them, sing them!”

This is the characteristic question by the children who knock on each door offering to sing the carols, whether they are for Christmas, for the New Year or for Theofania (Epiphany) in Greece and Cyprus.

Hundreds of groups of children spill into the streets of villages, towns and cities throughout Greece and Cyprus, some holding musical instruments and others with musical triangles and drums, asking homeowners whether they can sing them the carols. At the end, the carol singers are rewarded with either money or sweets.

This is another tradition that has been carried down from generation to generation and is still found today throughout the Nation. The word “kalanda” (carols) emanates from the Latin “calenda” which means the start of the month.

The custom of singing carols pre-existed in Greece even before the Roman era. The carols have their base in old popular songs and the lyrics wish the home owner and his family good health and fortune in the New Year.

In various parts of the country, both on the mainland and on the islands, the carols are performed in different ways.