It is this time of the year - Greece
The PDC World Championship is always played during the Christmas Season. People from all over the world travel to London. They visit the Alexandra Palace, some of them will stand on the stage, of course go into the city and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. But one can't assume that they are used to it or that what they experience in London is for them not just exotic .
For Christmas is not even celebrated alike everywhere in Great Britain and still less even in the christian communties around the world - traditions and customs differ a lot.
As we published this week an interview withGreek darts player John Michael on GlobalDarts our voyage through the Christmas season first tends to Greece. Other stops will be the Philippines and Wales.
Within Europe the differences between the Christmas festivals are not as big as they once have been. In Greece now-a-days we often find a very colourful Christmas tree in the sitting room and often the presents will be handed out on the 24. or 25. of December.
Traditionally the Christmas season in Greece starts forty days before Chrismas day with fasting. From 15. November till Christmas no milk, eggs or meat are consumed. The proper Christmas season lasts twelve days and starts on the 24. December when the children go from door to door like the carolers. The songs they sing are supposed to bring luck and blessing and the children are rewarded with sweets and money.
In the evening a fire will be lighted in the chimney with a special piece of olive or pine wood saved for the occasion so that the Christ Child stays warm. It as well keeps away the bad goblins which are up to mischief at this time of the year. The fire has to burn the complete twelve days of Christmas. Beside the Christmas tree it is a tradion to decorate a wooden boat with strings of light to remember all the seamen who are at sea over Chrismas. On the 25. December Christmas is celebrated by the Orthodox - it is a noisy and boisterous family party.
Traditionally the presents are handed out on the first of January and it is neither Father Christmas nor the Christ Child who brings the presents but Saint Vassilios who at this day celebrates his saint's day. He hides the presents under the beds of the children. Vassilios is the patron saint of the children. Similar to Saint Nicholas he was a charitable bishop who cared for the poor and needy. Devoted to him is a special cake one eats on the first of January and in which a coin is hidden. Saint Vassilios is the patron saint of seafaring as well - another reason for the ship as an important Christmas symbol in Greece.
Climax and end of the Christmas season is the sixth of January - the day on which Jesus from Nathareth was christened. On this day houses and flats are blessed by the priests - with a spray of basile which was dipped into holy water.
Of course as everywhere in Greece one can find a traditionell Christmas dinner which ends the fasting on the 25. of December. After typical Greek starters like Moussaka or Tsatsiki a filled turkey is served. It is filled with mincemeat, sweet Chestnuts, Rice and noodles and serveral other ingridients and spices. So you don't even need any sides. The dinner will be concluded by Melomakronas - a special pastry with a lot of honey.