As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve got the pressure of celebrating a grand New Year that will make the next year a little bearable. New Year celebrations are indulgent and exciting, and we’ve all looked forward to it throughout the year. You’d think that finding the best party spots to hit will make your New Year’s Eve a memorable one, but what if there was a much better way to spice up the night? The answer lies in Greece, where you can not only have a fairly good vacation but you can also enjoy a brilliant yet unusual New Year’s Eve. If you need any reasons to plan your trip to Greece, here are five of them:
1. Exchanging Presents
If you’ve given and received presents at your home country on the day of Christmas, you’d be delighted to know that the custom in Greece for giving presents takes place on New Year’s Day. Protohronia, the day of New Year in Greece, is graced by the Greek Santa Claus, Ayios Vasilis, who gives out presents to everyone on the day of the beginning of the New Year. One of the most interesting parts of this custom is that people in Greece often flock to crowded places for last minute present shopping, and young adults and teenagers gather in the town centre to celebrate the strange yet interesting tradition of using foam spray and plastic hammers to declare a fun war on each other. Not only do you get to exchange presents, you also enjoy some entertaining spectacles!
2. Playing Cards
The common belief in Greece is that the New Year brings ample amount of luck. To acknowledge this custom, families in Greece play cards to see who gets the luckiest oncoming year. Gambling, rolling dice, and playing cards is a common custom in Greece on New Year’s Day. Families play these games as the New Year rolls in with a countdown, and indulge in friendly manner of gambling so that there is no strife between the players. This makes for a fun countdown to the New Year and also makes it a lot more exciting a time for everyone involved.
3. Unusual Customs and Traditions
A Greek New Year is one of a kind. There are some really great and unusual customs that the people of Greece follow, which makes the New Year a highly enthusiastic one. This includes things like preparing a cake where a gold coin is hidden so whoever finds it is the luckiest; children are given money as a symbol of starting the year in good faith, the scilla martina plant (sea onion) is hung in homes to bring good luck, ceremonies take place to repel the hobgoblins who are believed to wreak havoc within cities, three-day feasts during the week of New Year are conducted where people wear scary masks to get rid of evil spirits, bonfire nights with indulgent wine are celebrated during a week before the New Year, the village priest and men of the town attend a feast on December 25th have the meal of the Brotherhood etc.
4. Free Concerts and Dancing Through the Night
If you’ve experienced the customs and traditions of a Greek New Year, you’d be pretty interested to indulge in the celebrations that take place throughout a city with the young crowd. Concerts and dancing are common on the night of the New Year’s Eve. Decorations and festivities take place through all the towns, so you wouldn’t have to visit a particular one. However, Athens, which is famous for its beautiful decorations is a sight that shouldn’t be missed at all. The streets and common areas are filled with the local public that indulges in festivities all night. Music and dance are the most fun part of this display.
5. Short Trips and Cruises
Greece is filled with the most picturesque locations, and if you wish to spend your New Year’s Eve on a boat, go ahead and find a cruise that will take you through the mesmerizing parts of some towns and cities where you can witness the brilliant display of fireworks, have some of Greece’s traditional wine and bread, and observe the sprawling water before you during a cruise. Short trips are also organized by some travelling agencies which will help you see the best parts of a New Year celebration in Greece.
Once you’ve spent a New Year’s Eve in Greece, you’ll be visiting it many more times, and with such furore and interesting opportunities to explore, Greece will surely be one of your all-time favourite destinations for a New Year’s celebration in the forthcoming years.
Author Bio: Rohit has explored some of the most interesting parts of the world, the experiences of which he shares on his blogs at TransIndiaTravels.com for like-minded travellers and enthusiastic tourists.