Saturday, 24 December 2016
On the morning of Xmas Eve in Greece young children banging away at 'musical' triangles come knocking on your door with cries of
Na ta Poume ............ Can we tell you?
The answer is (nearly ) always, 'come in, come in and tell us'
They will trill away accompanied by their ringing triangles, little ones joining in when they know the words, the older children often singing so fast you can hardly understand the words but every householder knows them off by heart anyway.
You must then give them a small amount of money and say Kronia Polla, Many Happy Returns. It doesn't have to be a huge amount of money, 50 cents will do. But, if they are children of relatives, neighbours or close friends then a little more is expected to be handed over. Clever children will make sure they go first to the houses of their grandparents, godparents, aunts and next door neighbours. A house visited by these young singers is a blessed house and most people are happy to have cute kids making early morning noises in their doorways and will hand over the reward with maybe a chocolate or small xmas biscuit.
This is an age old tradition, small children singing the 'kalanda' on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and on the eve of the 6th January when the blessing of the waters takes place.
Our kalanda singers and a loose translation
Good evening, noble men
If this is what you wish
The Holy birth of Christ
I will tell you in your honourable house
Christ is born today
And all Nature celebrates
The xmas loaf ready to go in the oven.
Bread making has been going on all day. I started reviving the sourdough sponge last night and at midday began adding the flour and kneading the dough. It will go in the oven around 8 tonight and be eaten with our midday meal on Christmas day, sliced by the eldest male in the family.