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January 06, 2011


Bobbin Talk

My dad is called Jordan and since he and my mom still live in Bulgaria, and observe the Greek Orthodox traditions, I got a report from them that my dad in his 65 years of age jumped in the water to chase the cross! I don't even have the words to explain how that makes me feel! Way to go dad!!
Me? I'd rather go for the donuts!
Good luck with school!! I can't believe it starts on a Friday!


Such a great read, Anastasia! I'm beginning to be addicted to your blog... I have many Greek friends in Sidney, so I have already tried your delicious loukoumades! Loved them!!


In England in the Middle Ages, this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season. As you may know,in Tudor England, Twelfth Night itself was forever solidified in popular culture when William Shakespeare used it as the setting for one of his most famous stage plays.Often a Lord of Misrule was chosen to lead the Christmas revels.

Lakis Ioannou

When I was 16 I was the one to retrieve the cross. It was a great feeling....I was treated like a hero and was so proud of myself! Indeed, I had the best loukoumades and shiamishi in Larnaca and every year on Epiphany, I travel there to get some.


In my grandmother's village in Crete, all housewives make fotokoliva on January 5th. It's a healthy snack consisting of wheat and peas that is usually eaten on Epiphany Day after church and the blessing of the waters. Many Cretans raise animals for a living, such as sheep, cows or goats, and they give them some as they believe that fotokoliva can make their animals healthier and stronger.


In the UK,Twelfth Night (5th January) is when all Christmas Decorations should be removed so as not to bring bad luck upon the home. If decorations are not removed on Twelfth Night, they should stay up all year!

Long ago it was thought that leaving the decorations up would cause a disaster. People believed that tree-spirits lived in the greenery (holy, ivy etc) they decorated their houses with. The greenery was brought into the house to provide a safe haven for the tree-spirits during the harsh midwinter days. Once this period was over, it was necessary to return the greenery back outside to release the tree-spirits into the countryside once again. Failure to do this would mean that vegetation would not be able to start growing again (spring would not return), leading to an agricultural disaster. It was also thought that, if you left the greenery in the house, the tree-spirits would cause mischief in the house until they were released.

Today people still feel uneasy about leaving the Christmas decorations up after Twelfth Night. Despite decorations now being made of foil or paper, and even though the tree-spirits are long forgotten, the superstition still survives.


Very interesting post-and comments too! I've been reading about how in the past folks celebrated Old Christmas on Jan 6th here in Appalachia. Some of the things mentioned here were observed here too! But today-I don't know anyone who celebrates it-maybe I should bring it back : )

Ted S

Not many people in the US celebrate the 12 days of Christmas but in my family it's been a tradition. We burn candles - one for each of the twelve days - and exchange gifts following the tradition of the famous song. Then on the twelfth night we have a big party - it's such a blast!


Great post, Anastasia! The loukoumades look simply ... irresistible! In Thrace, my homeland, Theophaneia or Epiphany is one of the greatest celebrations of the year. In seaside towns the priest bless the waters after church as you describe. According to our traditions in Thrace, a housewife must not do any laundry during the 12 days of Christmas. That is considered bad luck. Also, if we have ash in our homes - for example the ash from the fireplace - we must not throw it away during the 12 days because, our tradition says that the "bereketi" of the house (wealth, prosperity) will become ashes too and go away from the house. Also if a Thracian has something borrowed, he must give it back before January 5 or the Telfth Night. Otherwise the people you borrowed something from would come and ask for it and, according to my grandmother, it was very embarrassing!

Jean-Paul Bouvier

Après toute l'excitation de Noël et du Nouvel An, il reste une dernière tradition française intéressante:le tirage des rois. Cette célébration a lieu à l'Épiphanie,dont la date n'est pas figée - elle peut être soit le 6 janvier,soit le premier dimanche de ce mois.

Plus intéressant encore, il y a la galette des rois. Ce gâteau particulier se mange généralement tout au long du mois de janvier. Selon la région,la galette des rois se fait de plusieurs façons:elle peut être feuilletée ou briochée, certaines sont fourrées à la frangipane,et d'autres décorées de fruits confits. Mais ce qui distingue la galette des rois des autres gâteaux, c'est la fève à l'intérieur, voire deux:une vraie fève, et souvent aussi une figurine ou un petit bibelot.

Phivos Nicolaides

Your loukoumades look so inviting Anastasia!!

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