Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Greek Epiphany carols

OK, this is a self-indulgent post, I'll admit it and give you fair warning.

Today is the Feast of Epiphany. If I were in Greece, I'd be having the day off, and kids would be knocking on my door all morning long to sing the Epiphany carols in exchange for money to buy presents.

Carol singing is an important holiday tradition in Greece. It takes place on Christmas eve, New Year's eve and on the Feast of Epiphany. I have many fond childhood memories of singing carols with my friends and using the money to buy presents for my parents or contribute towards my own Christmas present.

This picture, painted in the 1870's by Nikiforos Lytras, is the most well-known Greek painting with a Christmas theme and one of my personal favourites.

Since I'm in England at the moment, no one has turned up to sing on my doorstep, so I'm having to recreate the sounds of the day via the magic of YouTube. This is what the Epiphany carols would sound like (if a children's choir paid me a visit):

The lyrics roughly translate as follows:

Today is the day of light and enlightment
There is great joy and holy blessing

Our Lady the Blessed Mary
Is down by the Jordan River
She's carrying a harp, a candle she's holding
She's pleading with St. John

St. John, lord and Baptist,
Baptise me, make me a child of God
So I'll be able to ascend to heaven
To gather roses and incense

Good day, good day!
Good day to you, master and mistress!

Since this is an indulgent post, I could even close my eyes and imagine that a cute Cypriot singer turned up to sing for me. This is what he would be sounding like:

I think I know which version I prefer ;-)


Mediterranean kiwi said...

homesick? chronia polla!

Tinsie said...

Very! Episeis :-)

lemon said...

Έχει τόση ζέστη αυτές τις μέρες, δεν ευχαριστήθηκα χριστούγεννα... Ζηλεύω τα χιόνια σας, παρόλη την παγωνιά, να ξέρεις!

Tinsie said...

Εσείς περνάτε ένα μόνιμο καλοκαίρι κι εμείς ζούμε τα Χριστούγεννα σε επανάληψη :-)

Nadine said...

That was just lovely. Thank you for sharing part of your culture. I enjoyed the videos.

Karen said...

Molly is grunting at me. I don't think she likes this music! In her defense, she can't see how cute the singer is. :-)

I hope you get to go home soon, even if for just a little fix.

Carlos Lorenzo said...

Thanks for enriching our cultural knowledge with your well documented post on traditions in Greece. I didn't know about Epiphany carols :)

Betty C. said...

Hey, I just noticed you haven't done a Wordless Wednesday for a while! You've been wordy on Wednesdays, which has let me catch up a bit...but I'm on 76 and you're on 78. Stay wordy for two more weeks and we'll be back on track...

Tinsie said...

@ Nadine: Τhank you for posting to say so, I appreciate it.

@ Karen: She'd hate it even more if she was in Greece: your buzzer going off every five minutes from 7 AM till lunchtime (which, in Greece, is at 2 PM), kids screeching at the top of their voices, triangles jingling as if the players' lives depend on them... you could say it's a form of torture to make adults part with their money!

The singer's cute though, isn't he? Hehe ;-)

@ Carlos: You're very welcome. Thanks for commenting.

@ Betty C: I'm doing it on purpose, so you have a chance to catch up :-)