Fancy going somewhere different for Christmas and experiencing the festival season amidst a unique culture, scenery and climate?
If so, you may want to consider spending Christmas on the Greek island of Corfu. Christmas is one of the biggest Christian celebrations on Corfu, which is strongly associated with the Greek Orthodox tradition.
It is a truly colourful and joyous occasion when the whole of the island comes alive with lights, decorations and festivities. Like in the UK, Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25th, marking the birth of Christ. Though unlike our Christmas tradition, gifts in Corfu are exchanged on January 1st.
Christmas Eve is steeped in tradition on Corfu. Children go from house to house, often carrying small clay drums and metal triangles, singing Christmas carols.
Christmas Day on Corfu involves families and friends gathering together to enjoy a large feast. The first course comprises of egg-lemon chicken soup with rice. Turkey or pork is typically the main dish, accompanied with traditional Christopsomo – Christ’s Bread. This sweet type of bread is baked in various shapes, with the crusts engraved in symbols that depict the family’s profession. As well as sweet bread, locals tuck into Melomakarona, which are cookies doused in honey, as well as Kourabiedes, a crunchy shortbread with nuts and raisins.
Similar to Spain, the 6th of January is heavily celebrated on Corfu, which officially marks the end of Christmas. If you’re staying close to Corfu’s shoreline on January 6th, you may witness crucifixes lit up in the sea, which have been put there by priests in order to bless the waters. The day is also celebrated by priests throwing crosses into the sea and locals diving in and racing to be first to retrieve them from the water.
Yes, if you’re looking to celebrate Christmas with a difference this year, heading to the beautiful island of Corfu, with its unique festive traditions and celebrations, would certainly be a Christmas to remember.