Christmas is truly magical in Cyprus. Everyone loves to celebrate the festive season and it’s a wonderful chance to discover some of the unique Christmas traditions of the island. When you visit Cyprus at Christmas time, you’ll find the spirit of Christmas around every corner. From carols to Christmas trees, some of our traditions may be familiar to you, but others may surprise and delight you. You may even like to take some of our traditions home with you, to make every Christmas even more special and remind you of your Christmas in Cyprus!
You can’t fail to notice one thing about our festive traditions, and that’s the fact that so many of them revolve around delicious, special Christmas food. We certainly love our food here in Cyprus, we take our time to relax and enjoy every meal, and so it’s no surprise that at Christmas time, our tables are full of the most delightful sweet treats, some of which come with interesting stories and traditions of their own. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Christmas traditions of Cyprus.
Carolling door to door
If you’re in Cyprus and you hear the words “Na ta pume?” on your doorstep, then you should always say yes, as this means “Shall we say them?” and you’ll be regaled with “Kalanda,” which are traditional Cypriot Christmas carols! Groups of door-to-door carol singers, accompanied by a selection of hand-held musical instruments are just one of the festive treats of Cyprus. It’s customary to reward the carol singers with a small gift of money, sweets, or nuts.
Decorating the Christmas tree
In Cyprus you’ll find many homes that have beautifully decorated Christmas trees for the season, as well as several other floral festive tributes such as wreaths of fir, and olive branches decorating doors and balconies. You’ll spot the stunning red poinsettia in windows, that are a symbol of goodwill, embellishing the majority of houses If you take a stroll along the beach, you will also be able to enjoy the decorated boats.
Baking and sharing Vasilopita
Vasilopita is a delicious orange-flavoured cake that’s synonymous with Christmas in Cyprus. When the cake is being made, it is tradition to drop a coin into the mixture, so when the family slices the cake on New Years Day, the person who finds the coin in their piece will have a year of good luck and fortune.
Delicious loukoumades honey dough balls
Loukoumades are the most scrumptious, gooey honey dough balls. They’re very tasty, but it’s important not to eat them all, because they also serve another purpose. During the 12 days of Christmas, you must be very wary, as this is the time that the naughty Christmas spirits known as kalikantzari can hop down the chimney and cause havoc in your home. Luckily you can get rid of these pesky spirits by throwing loukoumades onto your roof.
The cross in the sea
Feeling brave? Then head to the sea on January 6th for this chilly tradition. The bishop throws a wooden cross into the sea and everyone dives in to find it. While the water may be rather cold at this time of year, if you are the one to find it, it will have all been worth it, as it is said you will have good luck for the whole year ahead.
Book your magical stay in Cyprus
If you’d like to fully immerse yourself in a Cypriot Christmas, then why not do something different this year and book a comfortable, cosy, luxury villa for the festive season? You’ll be sure of a warm welcome in Cyprus, with no shortage of amazing festive foods to enjoy and events to put you in the Christmas spirit. Browse our extensive range of villas and choose your perfect home-from-home in Protaras this winter.