Mykonians are a gregarious, kind hearted lot. Though they’ve been steadfastly receiving guests from all over the planet for more than six decades now, they are quite unaffected by globalization, whilst remaining very much true to their folks and traditions. Come Christmas and it’s time for the holiday festivities in Mykonos; so locals will be sharing their age old customs and homemade culinary delicacies with families, neighbors, friends and visitors.
One of the most cherished pastimes-in fact a practice which has originated in the island of the winds centuries ago- is the decoration of model sailing boats for Christmas. Mykonians have always been accomplished seamen and adorning a boat for Christmas has been their special way of saying welcome back to the men folk of the family: Husbands, sons, brothers and fathers who toiled away at sea for months on end, while their spouses, mothers and sisters waited for their safe return at home.
Nowadays this custom remains an integral-and quite spectacular-part of the holiday festivities in Mykonos. But apart from aesthetic pleasures, for those fortunate to be attending the holiday festivities in Mykonos, there are multiple delights in store. To start with they will be inexorably lured by the sweet scents permeating from all households amongst the narrow lanes of whitewashed Chora. For homemakers will be baking diples (fried dough dipped in syrup), foinikia (baked biscuits dipped in honey syrup), kourampiedes (butter biscuits dusted with icing sugar), and the traditional Christmas bread in the oven. They will also be cooking onion pies with their local cheese (tyrovolia), lard with cabbage to attract abundance, baked meat and sweet honey pies with tyrovolia and cinnamon.
All these culinary wonders will be savored along with family and friends on New Year’s Eve. On the same day the Women’s Cultural Folkloric Association of Mykonos shall take into the streets, singing old carols from Mykonos and Delos whilst carrying a traditional, adorned model boat and a lanter. Along with the impressive display of fireworks marking the arrival of the New Year that shall ensue later on, the Mykonian carols are a not to be missed sight.
Yet the Christmas holiday festivities in Mykonos do not end before Epiphany Day: January 6th marks the commencement of balosia -an antique custom hailing from Venetian times which is zealously celebrated with traditional island dances to the sounds of violins, bagpipes and tubas. This shall take place in the evening; while on the morning of the same day locals and visitors will once more attend the The Blessing of the Waters: A fascinating, time honoured ceremony that transpires all over the country.