This in no way takes away from the meaning of Christmas in that
certainly Christ was born, and to Christians he forms part of the Trinity which
is their God. The most important thing is that there is now one date where
all together Christians can celebrate his birth.
The background to Christmas simply gives a better understanding of the
circumstance in which Christmas came about. Certainly would it not be
better to celebrate Christmas on one day all together rather then on ten
different? It would clearly seem so.
Christmas in Greece and Cyprus tends to
be quieter then in other western countries. The holiday is preceded in some
areas by a time of fasting. The Christmas period begins on December 6th
the Feast of Saint Nicholas, and ends on January 6th the Epiphany.
Children will sing Carols on the day and evening before Christmas known
as "Kalanda-Carol" They will go from house to house and ask the
person who opens the door if they can sing the Kalanda. The person will
tell the children to go ahead and say the carols, and the children will then
proceed. It is quite a site to see! These kalandas are a blessing to the household, and the people who are saying
the kalandas often receive gifts.
It is interesting to note that the word carol has its' origin in
Greek. There used to be a Greek dance a long time ago known as "Choraulein." This
dance was accompanied by flute music and spread to Europe. The French
replaced the flute with the voices of people singing. A few hundred years
ago the dancing ceased as part of the Choraulein. The Choraulein
also ceased to be
performed on any occasion eventually ending up being only performed on Christmas.