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PISSOURI VILLAGE & BAY

Pissouri Village Bay 01

Pissouri is the third largest village district in the Limassol district of Cyprus, and is located in the Southwest of Cyprus just off the A6 motorway midway between Limassol and Paphos (34 kilometers from both). The main Pissouri village is located about 3 kilometers from the sea on the Cape Aspro ridge, and about 500 feet above sea level. The whole stretch is an absolutely gorgeous spot where the waves that softly lap up against a pebbled and sandy shoreline, partly cradled by the rocky cliffs that drop down to the sea, making the whole setting picture perfect. It is the administrative centre for the Pissouri District, and houses a delightful village square.

Pissouri Village Bay 02

There are many charming taverns, coffee shops, as well as entertainment facilities, several chapels, and an imposing and historical Gothic church. The area is quite popular with locals and tourists in the summer, but there’s always a quiet spot to be found, and the crowds don’t even come close to what you would come across in the main hubs of nearby Limassol or Paphos. So what are you waiting for? Time to make the plunge!



THE VILLAGE


Pissouri Village 01

There are various theories on the origins of the village’s name, including the belief that it is derived from the resin (’pissa’) that comes from pitch pine, and was produced in the area during the Byzantine and Frankish period. It was originally known as ‘Piseeri’, and is also referred to as ‘Pisuri’ on old maps. At the village square, especially in summer you can relax, have a nice drink and enjoy the village's beauty! It provides a beautiful setting for the visitor who may enjoy the facilities and services offered by a variety of business units including restaurants, banks, pizzas, pubs as well as other services. Furthermore, the square is the main place where all the venues and events take place varying from festivals to traditional Cypriot nights.

Pissouri Village 02

Moreover, it is important to mention that the Community Council provides free wireless broadband to all locals and visitors. The community’s main goal and aim is to utilize at the maximum the current project in order to fulfill the different needs of the user by continuously upgrading the motive and role that has originally planned. Every September, a celebration is held in honour of Agios Andreas, whilst other annual summer and Easter events are held both in the village square and the open-air amphitheatre.



PISSOURI NATURE TRAILS


Pissouri Nature Trails

The area has 8 hiking trails, crossing through the hills, providing some spectacular views and an amazing geological experience, with fossils of sea life to be found many hundreds of feet above the sea level.

Four of the eight trails are open to both hiking🚶and biking 🚴

Bicycles are available for hire and also guided cycling tours can be arranged.

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PISSOURI BAY


Pissouri Beaches 01

Pissouri beach is located on the southern point of the old village. It is standing out for its fine golden sand, multi-coloured small pebbles, moderate waves and generally for its crystal clear azure sea. Protected by Cape “Aspro” spectacular white cliffs, one on each side, Pissouri Beach reveals its unique, calm and peaceful profile. Its incomparable beauty, combined with the light and the white colour of the two cliffs, reflects a magnificent and a spectacular recreational hub for all the visitors. It avails the ideal beach extent (1500 m length, 90 m width) that can efficiently be used by all the bathers. Sports funs can waterski, windsurf, sail and paraglide. Bathers can also erect their own umbrellas and spend an enjoyable “day accommodation”. Pissouri beach is proud for its free coastal facilities use. Two changing rooms, toilets and shower points are provided for open use. Moreover, an adequate number of fully -equipped lifeguards are patrolling the area, particularly in the summer season. All of these facilities ease the visitors “day accommodation” proving that Pissouri Beach avails a comfort, secure and vigorous infrastructure for bathers needs satisfaction. A nearby public parking place encourages the effortless access to the beach. It has five public walking accesses spread all over the coast line. All the accesses are approaching the two elegant and relaxing 5-star luxurious beach hotels; Pissouri Beach Hotel and Columbia Resorts Hotel and the several nearby services and facilities as well, such as restaurants, bars, pizza places and a variety of shops where one can easily visit. Two of them are constructed for disabled people needs.It is notable to be pointed out that our Beach is annually awarded with Blue Flag, depicting its full compliance with the water quality standards, safety and the provision of services.



NUDIST BEACH


Pissouri Beaches 02

Pissouri Beach is situated approximately half way between Limassol and Paphos on the west of the island. From the Highway, just head for the exit Pissouri Bay by driving to Columbia Pissouri Hotel and continue until you get to a small roundabout. Turn left and park in the public car park. From there you can see the beach, once you have reached the beach, continue walking left and go straight until you hit some rocks, behind these rocks is where the very popular nudist beach starts. The beach is mostly covered with pebbles, while the sea bottom has some smaller rocks, sand and pebbles, too. The sea is clean and rather safe, but one needs to be careful, since the area has no lifeguard services.

Tip: Those visiting this coast, should be wearing snickers, in order to climb safely over the rocks.



AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTS


Pissouri Products 02

The main agricultural product currently grown locally in the Pissouri valley is grapes, destined as “table” grapes and for the production of raisins, known locally as “sultanas”. Other products are almonds, carob, and market vegetables. Wheat and barley are grown to be used as hay to feed the robust local sheep, cow, and goat farms. Nearby Avdimou is known for its excellent dairy products such as typically Cypriot sheep and goat yogurt, mainly fed from locally produced hay. There is minimal commercial fruit growing, although there are some large citrus orchards near Paramali to the east of Pissouri. In season, locally grown figs can be found at the markets and stands in Pissouri.



HALLOUMI CHEESE


Pissouri Products 01

A Cypriot cheese handmade from the cow, goat, and ewe milk. Halloumi sprinkled with mint and stored in a brine where it develops a unique texture and salty taste. Halloumi can be fried or grilled for a crisp outer layer and a melted chewy inside. Enjoy with a squeeze of lemon juice or with salad, bread and hummus.



ACTIVITIES


Pissouri ACTIVITIES 01

There are many watersport activities available in the bay, with scuba diving shops, and also rentals available on the beach for jet skis, sailboats, and kayaks. There is also waterskiing available and a variety of rides. Bicycles are available for hire and also guided cycling tours can be arranged. The area has numerous hiking trails through the hills, providing some spectacular views and an amazing geological experience, with fossils of sea life to be found many hundreds of feet above the sea level.

Pissouri ACTIVITIES 02



HOTELS


Pissouri is blessed with so many different types of accommodation that anybody should be able to find what they are looking for and therefore enjoy not only what Pissouri has to offer but because of our central location the whole of Cyprus is easily accessible!

Pissouri Hotels 01
Columbia Hotels & Resorts

Columbia Hotels & Resorts is a privately owned company that prides itself on offering top quality to its guests, ensuring each of its guests is made to feel at home while staying in one of its three, unique hotels in Cyprus. The Columbia Beachotel, situated on Pissouri Bay, has been owned by Schoeller Holdings since 1988 when the hotel was launched as the first Columbia Hotel within a group of seven hotels. The Columbia Beachotel was relaunched in July 2005, following one year of renovations and restorations by local craftsmen, ensuring the preservation its natural setting on Pissouri Bay and the beauty of the environment. In 2003 Schoeller Holdings, mother company of Columbia Shipping Company Cyprus, launched its flagship, five star superior resort on Pissouri Bay, The Columbia Beach Resort. The Resort boasts twelve separate low rise buildings, situated around an impressive eighty meter lagoon pool and is a prime example of local architecture and craftsmanship. Fine local and international cuisine is a daily pleasure at the Resort. All 95 spacious suites were designed to surpass the international standards of five star luxury, all set within the luscious gardens; providing ample grounds to walk the cobbled pathways of the Resort.

Pissouri Hotels 02

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Apartments & Villas

Skeleas Apartments

Skeleas Apartments are located on the side of the Melanda escarpment in Pissouri Bay. Perched high on the escarpment it provides magnificent views over the Pissouri Jetty and Bay to the statuesque Cape Aspro to the west.

Pissouri Apartments and Villas

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Hylatio Tourist Village

Set in beautiful gardens with an elegant swimming pool and just a few minutes’ walk from an alluring sandy Pissouri beach (Blue Flag award), Hylatio is very close to scenic Pissouri village, and 1hr drive from the picturesque...

Pissouri Apartments and Villas

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The Bunch of Grapes Inn

THE BUNCH OF GRAPES INN was originally the village Manor House and is reputed to be more than 200 years old. It was converted to an inn in 1976 and it remains quite unique. There is nothing else quite like it on the whole Island.

Pissouri Apartments and Villas


Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.


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Polis Chrysochous Area

Explore the Akamas peninsula

Explore the Akamas peninsula

The Akamas National Park lies on the west coast of Cyprus, a truly pictorial part of the island. It has an area coverage of 230 square kilometres containing valleys, gorges and wide sandy bays. The wildlife diversity is crucial for the ecology in the Mediterranean. In this spectacular environment there are 168 varieties of birds, 20 different reptiles, 16 species of butterfly and 12 different mammals not to mention its very rich variety of fauna. The important significance of the Akamas Peninsula has been duly noted; The European Council has included it in its Mediterranean Protection Programme. The Cyprus Government has yet to fully declare it as a National Park for tourist and local landowners reasons, although friends of the Earth and Green Peace are lobbying hard for it.

- The last coastal area in Cyprus to remain untouched by development
- A perfect haven for wildlife and flora
- A MUST for any keen walker or mountain biker

Villages

Boat along the Akamas (Blue Lagoon)

Blue lagoon is the most popular place of Akamas and thousands of people have visited it by boat. The crystal blue waters in this small bay are so clear, you can see all the way to the underlying sea bed. The water in this area of the Akamas Peninsula is so inviting and refreshing you will want to swim in this beautiful environment or go snorkeling and look around you underwater for metres on end.

- Choose an organised trip with a BBQ lunch cooked on board - book at the harbour
- Or hire a private speed boat - it's good value for a small group
- Don't forget your swimming costume for that dip in the blue lagoon!
- Tip: Local residents receive a discount - just ask at Latchi harbour when you book

Visit Latchi harbour

Visit Latchi harbour

In the past few years due to its ever-growing facilities and amenities, Latchi has become a favorite stopping point after the Greek Isles and Turkey. Latchi is a small port in Cyprus where the fishermen bring in the fresh catch of the morning and supply those who are fortunate enough to have got up early that day. Taverns litter the dockside offering the local specialty “Fish Meze” and at a very affordable price, unlike some of the other harbours around the island.

- Take a stroll along the marina
- Sample some freshly caught fish in one of the tavernas.

Polis Villages (Agrotourism)

Polis Villages (Agrotourism)

The rest of the area is made up of a number of villages with varying degrees of charm and reasons to visit. Below is a list of the ones we have been to and any particular points of interest. There are many places to stay in these locations particularly villas.

On the road from Paphos to Polis, about 13 km before you reach Polis, there is a turning on the left which will take you to the little village of Miliou nestling on the Laona plateau. Right next door to the springs is the restored monastery of Agii Anargyri which is now being used as a spa hotel. The monastery was built in 1649 and is said to be one of the first ever on the island. It was founded by two brothers who used to care for the sick and dying without taking any payment for it. It is said that this is how the monastery got its name, from the Greek meaning ‘without payment’. Miliou is one of the smallest villages in Cyprus and has a population of about 60. It is also one of the greenest villages in the area, thanks to an abundant supply of spring water, surrounded by citrus groves, almond trees and vineyards. In early spring the almond blossom is a spectacular sight and the Orange and lemon trees are laden with fruit. With far-reaching mountain and valley views and unspoilt countryside, Miliou is a delightful rural setting, perfect for long walks and for those who love nature and bird watching as the village is renowned as a nesting site for nightingales.

Pomos is about 8 miles or so outside of Polis. It is a charming little village, with a number of restaurants. There is a small fishing harbour and spectacular views, and is a great place to spend the afternoon.

Neo Chorio is a short drive from Latchi, and is the entrance to the Akamas. It offers a number of places to eat, and lots of different types of accommodation. It provides stunning views of the coast and the Akamas. It is claimed by some of the locals that land here is the most expensive in Cyprus.

The picturesque village of Droushia with its traditional architecture, narrow streets, small coffee shops, museums and Byzantine churches largely preserves the genuine traditional community unaffected by modern day civilization. With 386 inhabitants, the village stands 600 meters above sea level in a unique island region, which is rich in natural wellness right at the outskirts of the famous Akamas peninsula. The village, situated at the Laona plateau and only 27 km from the town of Paphos and 10 km from Polis, is a lovely location with stunning seaside and mountain views. Due to its altitude, a cool breeze coming from the Akamas Peninsula refreshes the village. In fact, one legend suggests that the village derives its name from the Greek word “Drosia” meaning “cool and fresh”. If you are wondering what to do during your stay, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of sites and attractions to visit.

LAONA – AKAMAS Wine Route

Wine Route 1 (Laona Akamas)

ROUTE: Pafos, Mesogi, Tsada, Stroumbi, Kathikas, Akourdaleia, Pano Arodes,Kato Arodes, Ineia, Drouseia, Polis, Pegeia.

This route is in the north-western part of Cyprus. It is of unique interest, as it is not devoted exclusively to wine. In this area, the wine lover and the gourmet can visit four wineries and taste their varied and individualistic wines, in combination with the tasty specialities of Cypriot food. Tavernas, of which there are plenty along the route, will be sure not to disappoint. Together with these delicious attractions, the visitor may enjoy a unique geography, unlike anywhere else on the island. Travel along the main roads E701 and E709, which climb to elevations providing some fascinating views, with various greenery, substantial expanses of forest and a liberal lacing of vineyards combining to attract our attention. The outstanding feature of this unique wine zone is the Akamas peninsula. The diverse characteristics of the Akamas morphology, the flora and the wildlife rightfully make it a rare habitat. The visiting explorer/wine-lover truthfully has a feast for the eye, the ears, and the taste-buds.

Go on an adventure to Cedar valley  & Stavros tis Psokas in Paphos Forest

Go on an adventure to Cedar valley & Stavros tis Psokas in Paphos Forest

The area is located in the northwest part of the Troodos mountain region. Its boundaries overlap with the boundaries of the Main Forest of Paphos, which represent 96% of the site. It covers a large area from sea level up to the peak of Tripylos at 1,352 metres. This particular area is the most important area of Cyprus for nesting raptors. It supports the highest number of breeding Bonelli's eagles and Goshawks.

Cedar Valley: A must for nature lovers, Cedar Valley in Tilliryan Troodos is a thing of beauty. However, the cedars in this secluded valley are no ordinary trees, but the indigenous Cyprus cedar - Cedrus brevifolia, a close relative of the famous cedars of Lebanon, and which number in the thousands here.

Stavros tis Psokas (Cyprus Mouflon): This area contains the Cypriot mouflon (a wild sheep, Ovis musimon, inhabiting the mountainous regions of Sardinia and Corsica, the male of which has large curving horns considered native and unique to Cyprus). This breed of animal was almost extinct during the 20th century, yet the moufflon is now healthily populated within the Paphos Forest, Cedar Valley, and particularly the Tripylos area. Near the Stavros tis Psokas Forest Station, there's a Moufflon enclosure near which will be featured in an upcoming blog post.

- A new tarmac road now takes the pain out of getting there (via Panagia)
- Make sure you walk up to Tripylos from the picnic site in Cedar valley - the views from 1362m are spectacular
- Stop at a monastery to sample the "home brew" (wine!) on the way back - Chrysorrogiatissa or Ayia Moni
- And stop in Panagia to see where Archbishop Makarios was born

Drive up to Pachyammos & Pomos Villages  (Saint Rafael Church)

Drive up to Pomos & Pachyammos Villages (Saint Rafael Church)

The areas near the small villages of Pomos and Pachyammos are majestically beautiful and the mountains lead straight into the sea.
Pomos village, hanging on the cliffs of west coast Cyprus, lies about 20 km afar from Polis Chrysochous, on the way to Akamas nature reserve. It is a laid back village very peaceful and quiet. It is ideal for those wanting to live the authentic Cyprus way of life, away from the hassle and bustle of tourist's resorts.
This tranquil and calm area prides itself with amazing views of the coastline and sandy beaches, making it the ideal place for rest and relaxation. Pomos is one of the remaining unspoiled and undisturbed areas of Paphos. An ideal location to get away from it all..

The main point of interest is the impressive church of Agios Rafael in Pachyammos village, an important pilgrimage site for the faithful due to the belief in the miraculous curing powers of the saint.
Pachyammos Village Beach is an idyllic refuge for those seeking a remote and private stretch of bay to enjoy their day in tranquility.

Polis town

Polis town

Located within a rich fertile plain in the foothills of the Troodos mountains, the small town of Polis, which in Greek simply means ‘town’, overlooks the beautiful bay, with its warm, clear and safe seas. With its quaint sandstone buildings around a pedestrianised town centre with its restaurants, bars and souvenir shops, it is a delightful place to hang out on a summer evening. Don’t miss the Church of Agios Andronikos near the town square, with its 16th century wall paintings, which for 400 years served as a mosque and today stands as a monument. The 18th century church of Agia Kyriaki is also interesting or the open-air naive sculptural exhibition. The small church of Agios Nikolaos in the pedestrian precinct is also used for Catholic masses. A small eucalyptus wood lies between the town and the sea, providing shade for a camping site by the beach. Polis is a 45 minute drive from Pafos airport and just over two hours from Nicosia.

Officially, the town’s full name is Polis Chryssochous, which means the ‘town of gold’, thanks to the nearby copper and gold mines. It is believed that Mycenaean Greeks first settled in the area about 3000 years ago, while legend has it that returning heroes from the Trojan war established a city here. One of Cyprus’ ten great city-kingdoms, called Marion, flourished here thanks to the nearby mines and the resulting trade. Marion had strong ties with Athens but subsequently fell to the Persians. When Kimon, the great Athenian general, tried to free Cyprus from the Persians, Marion was the first city he liberated. A statue in memory of Kimon stands in front of the Polis cultural centre. Later Marion was destroyed during the success struggle following Alexander the Great but was finally rebuilt by Ptolemy II who renamed it Arsinoe after his wife and sister. The Polis archaeological museum in the heart of the town has finds from Polis’ glorious past. The ruins of this great ancient city, Marion-Arsinoe, can be seen near the hospital.

- The Polis Archeological Museum is open every day and closed on Sunday.
Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8.00-16.00 Saturday: 9.00 - 15.00
Tickets € 2,50
- Agios Andronikos church, open only on Sunday 09:00 – 16:00, Entrance, free.

Water sports

Water sports

Splash about in the warm waters of the Mediterranean indulging in all kinds of water sports. Go water skiing or wakeboarding, or just bounce along in the wake of the boat on a donut or a banana.
The steady predictable westerly winds make it a great place for windsurfing, or sailing and you could also try your hand at kitesurfing.

- Scuba diving in the clear waters along the Akamas
- Water ski behind a jet boat
- Maybe sea-kayaking or even paragliding?
- All these watersports can be found down in Latchi.

Stunning Sunset & Sunrise

Stunning Sunset & Sunrise

The beautiful surroundings and marvellous sunsets and sunrises make this area a special place for holidays. The best sunset experiences in Polis region, in specific areas such us Akamas Peninsula, Latchi Beach, Argaka Beach, Droushia village and Neo Chorio village. Another favourite for a sunset view is the coastal area of Pomos & Pachyammos villages.

9 REASONS WHY WE LOVE CYPRUS!!!

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Autumm | Grape Feast

AUTUMM GRAPE FEAST IN TROODOS MOUNTAINS

AUTUMM GRAPE FEAST IN TROODOS MOUNTAINS

During the months of September and October , the wine villages organise various events dedicated to wine and its products. During these events people can observe the making of palouzes and shoushoukkos at the venues and be offered various delicacies made of grapes. At the same time, there are competitions, wine tasting, and entertainment shows (including folk music,theatre productions,and revival of old traditional customs)Visitors can learn about the traditional houses of the villages, the local museums, churces, and other sights.

5 Beautiful Cyprus Winegrowing Villages to visit for a Perfect Day out Head up the foothills of the Troodos Mountains that rise above the seaside town of Limassol and a paradisaical setting awaits: slopes of shimmering green with vineyards that bask in the sun’s rays, cobbled buildings that tell tales of days gone by, dirt roads that lead to the most gorgeous nature trails weaving their way through countryside begging to be explored, and quaint museums shedding light on the area’s glorious winemaking history.

Vasa kilaniou 17/9/2016 (15.00)

Vasa Koilaniou Village | 23/9/2018

Venue: Community Square (15.30)

- Traditional ppalouzes will be prepared on site and offered free of charge to all visitors

- Demonstration of traditional arts & crafts

- Traditional music and dance performance

- Children ’s corner

- Open air market of Traditional products from the community

- Guided Walk in the Village-Educational Museum – Icon Museum-Icon Museum –Caves of St.Timonas and Saint Barnabas and the church of the village

Lofou  17/9/2017 (15.00)

Lofou Village | 23/9/2018

Venue: Primary School Yard (15.30)

- Exhibition of traditional products

- Traditional ppalouzes will be prepared on site and offered free of charge to all visitors

- Demonstration of traditional arts & crafts

- Traditional music and dance performance

- Orienteering event

- Visit to the church of the village which will remain open to visitors during the event.

Arsos  24/9/2017 (16:00)

Arsos Village | 30/9/2018

Venue: Community Square (16:00)

- Music and dance performance

- Open air market with local products

- Traditional ppalouzes will be offered free of charge to all visitors

- Photography exhibition

- Visits to the byzantine church of St Philip, the icon museum of St. Mariamni, the Folk Art Museum and local traditional houses which will remain open to visitors during the event.

Vouni 24/9/2016

Vouni Village | 23/9/2018

Venue: Vouni Wine Centre (15:30)

- Preparation of ppalouzes and free tasting

- Open air market with local products

- Folklore music and dance performance

- Guide tour to the church of Timios Prodromos to the olive mill, the folk art museum, and old fountains and tiny paths of picturesque Vouni

Kilani Village (Afamia) | 1/10/2017 (15:00 )

Koilani Village | 07/10/2018

Venue: Community Square (15:00)

- Theatrical Performance by the drama and dance groups of the Koilaniotes Association

- Demonstration of traditional arts & crafts

- Zivania distillation process

- Exhibition of agricultural products

- Open air market with local products

- Visit to the museums, wineries and churches of the village which will remain open to visitors during the event



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For further information please call at: +357 25 323211 (CTO Information Office in Limassol) or +357 99 352547 (Troodos Tourism Board)

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Christmas Customs of Cyprus

Kourabiedes

Kourabiedes

Kourabiedes or kourabiethes resemble a light shortbread, typically made with almonds. Kourabiedes are sometimes made with brandy, usually Metaxa, for flavouring, though vanilla, mastika or rose water are also popular. In some regions of Greece, Christmas kourabiedes are adorned with a single whole spice clove embedded in each biscuit. Kourabiedes are shaped either into crescents or balls, then baked till slightly golden. They are usually rolled in icing sugar while still hot, forming a rich butter-sugar coating.Kourabiedes are especially popular for special occasions, such as Christmas or baptisms.

Melomakarona

Melomakarona

Melomakarona: Greek Christmas Honey Cookies stuffed with dates andnuts. Along with the Kourabies it is a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season. Typical ingredients of the melomakarono are flour or semolina, sugar, orange zest and/or fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. During rolling they are often filled with ground walnuts. After baking they are immersed for a few seconds in hot syrup made of honey and sugar dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger, pieces of walnut. Dark chocolate-covered melomakarona are also a more recent variation of the traditional recipe.

​A little pig for Christmas

A little pig for Christmas

In the villages of Cyprus each family used to buy a little pig on Palm Sunday, in spring. 2-3 days before Christmas this pig was slaughtered and cut into pieces. Some of pieces were put in wine, together with salt, coriander and hang to make smoked meat or sausages to eat them on Christmas Day.

Egg Lemon Soup or Soup of Frumenty

Egg Lemon Soup or Soup of Frumenty

On Christmas day people go to church. After that, they go to their houses and all the family sat in the table with their best men and ate pork meat, soup of frumenty or soup of egg lemon, in a cheerful pleasant and festival familial environment.

​Gennopitta

Gennopitta

On Christmas Eve women in Cyprus knead a special bread called "gennopitta“ known as“Christopsomo”. Christopsomo is eaten on Christmas day. This bread is a sweet yeast bread, and is characteristically decorated with the symbol of the cross.

Souvla

Souvla

The time for family gatherings and holiday meals. Dishes such as stuffed turkey ,or “Souvla” which is roasted lamb or pork meat cooked on charcoal, are traditionally eaten on Christmas day.

"Kalanda" (Christmas carols)

During the Christmas period we sing carols called "kalanda“ which have been handed down from Byzantine times. These Carols are usually sung , by children and teenagers who go round their neighborhood in groups .The house owners give some money and some sweets.

​Olive Game

Olive Game

A common village tradition is to cross a leaf of olive tree by a fireplace and then, after making a wish to Saint Vassilis, toss it into the fire. Before tossing the dry leaf into the flames, you would say ” Saint Vassili King, show and illuminate if I am loved by…and then you name whoever’s love you are hoping for. If the leaf jumps up after you dropped it in the fire, then that means the person loves you. If not, you try again.

Vasilopitta

Vasilopitta

Vasilopitta is a traditional cake which is made on the, 1st of January every year especially for Ayios Vasilios. They cut it into pieces and one piece has a coin inside. The person who finds it, is believed to be lucky for the rest of the year.

​Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

Every housewife prepares a “Christmas Cake” which decorates the Christmas table for many days. It’s a cake made with a lot of dried fruit and nuts. On the top of it, white icing is spread which represents snow. It is decorated with various Christmas decorations. We also make some

Saint Vasilis Day (Santas Day)

Saint Vasilis Day (Santas Day)

In Cyprus children used to get their presents on New Year's Day as this day is also Saint Vasilis Day. Saint Vasilis is the children's favorite Saint because he always comes with a bag full of presents. So on New Year's Eve, after the children had gone to bed, their mother puts under the Christmas tree a piece of vasilopitta and a glass of wine for Santa. The children wake up early in the morning to open Santas presents.

​Kserotiana - Kalikantzari & (Loukoumades)

Kserotiana - Kalikantzari & (Loukoumades)

On Epiphany Day, housewives baked “kserotiana” or “loukoumades” which is a kind of doughnut. They used to throw some doughnuts on the houses’ roofs so bugbears, or else “kalikantzaroi”, would eat and leave. After Mass, the village’s priest went around all the houses and sprinkled people with holy water. This custom is known as “Kalanta”. He was accompanied by a child who held the container with the holy water. All people would throw some coins in the container, as a gift to the priest. All children went around the houses singing, in order to gain some money, known as “ploumisma” in the Cypriot dialect.

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Christmas Customs of Cyprus

Christmas Customs of Cyprus

Ah, it is "kourabiedes" time, and the sweet aroma of "melomakarona" cookies will soon be filling Cypriot kitchens worldwide.

At the beginning of December we decorate a Christmas tree which has become one of the most beloved and well known holiday symbols. We also hang Christmas stockings for ”Santa Claus” to put some sweets in them!

For many Cypriots the holiday is preceded by a time of fasting. For Cyprus, the season is full swing by December 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas, and will last through January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany.

Christmas in Cyprus is traditionally a solemn, religious holiday. Throughout the festivities, there is no doubt that Cyprus honors Christ at Christmas. Beautiful carols called ""kalanda" have been handed down from Byzantine times and add to the reverent quality of the celebration. Are the remote Cyprus villages, with their whitewashed walls, stone corrals for the precious (in spirit) from a night in Bethlehem so long ago? While other cultures have Christmas elves, the Cypriot equivalent is not so benign.

Mischievous and even dangerous sprites called "Kalikantzari" (or Calicantzari) according to myth; prey upon people only during the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve to Epiphany Day, on January, 6th. Apart from the "kalikantzari" other customs of the old Cypriots related to Christmas celebrations, were the following:

The children used to get their presents on New Year's Day and not on Christmas Day, as their "Santa" is Ai-Vasilis, whom they celebrate on the 1st January. So on New Year's Eve, after the children had gone to sleep, the mother used to place Santa's cake with a coin inside by the Christmas tree, lighting a candle on it and placing a goblet full of wine next to it. Tradition says, that Ai-Vasilis would come exhausted; he blessed the cake and drank the wine. Then he placed the presents for the children of the family under the tree. The children used to wake early in the morning and after cutting the "Vasilopitta" - Santa's cake - to find out who would be the lucky one of the year - it was the person who had the piece with the coin in it - they rushed to get their presents from under the tree.

Grandfathers and grandmothers used to "ploumizoun" (give money) to their grandchildren on the morning of Epiphany Day, on the 6th January. So, the children, early in the morning used to go to their grandparents and said the following verse "Kalimera ke ta Phota ke tin ploumistira prota" (Good morning on this day of light and let us have our gift first). The grandparents were pleased and gave them their tip (money-gift).

One of the most important ways Cyprus celebrates Christmas is through food. An enormous amount of cooking and hard work starts to prepare the food for Christmas.

Kourabiedes

Kourabiedes

Kourabiedes or kourabiethes resemble a light shortbread, typically made with almonds. Kourabiedes are sometimes made with brandy, usually Metaxa, for flavouring, though vanilla, mastika or rose water are also popular. In some regions of Greece, Christmas kourabiedes are adorned with a single whole spice clove embedded in each biscuit. Kourabiedes are shaped either into crescents or balls, then baked till slightly golden. They are usually rolled in icing sugar while still hot, forming a rich butter-sugar coating.Kourabiedes are especially popular for special occasions, such as Christmas or baptisms.

Melomakarona

Melomakarona

Melomakarona: Greek Christmas Honey Cookies stuffed with dates andnuts. Along with the Kourabies it is a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season. Typical ingredients of the melomakarono are flour or semolina, sugar, orange zest and/or fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. During rolling they are often filled with ground walnuts. After baking they are immersed for a few seconds in hot syrup made of honey and sugar dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger, pieces of walnut. Dark chocolate-covered melomakarona are also a more recent variation of the traditional recipe.

​Gennopitta

Gennopitta

On Christmas Eve women in Cyprus knead a special bread called "gennopitta“ known as“Christopsomo”. Christopsomo is eaten on Christmas day. This bread is a sweet yeast bread, and is characteristically decorated with the symbol of the cross.

Egg Lemon Soup or Soup of Frumenty

Egg Lemon Soup or Soup of Frumenty

On Christmas day people go to church. After that, they go to their houses and all the family sat in the table with their best men and ate pork meat, soup of frumenty or soup of egg lemon, in a cheerful pleasant and festival familial environment.

Souvla

Souvla

The time for family gatherings and holiday meals. Dishes such as stuffed turkey ,or “Souvla” which is roasted lamb or pork meat cooked on charcoal, are traditionally eaten on Christmas day.

Vasilopitta

Vasilopitta

Vasilopitta is a traditional cake which is made on the, 1st of January every year especially for Ayios Vasilios. They cut it into pieces and one piece has a coin inside. The person who finds it, is believed to be lucky for the rest of the year.

​Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

Every housewife prepares a “Christmas Cake” which decorates the Christmas table for many days. It’s a cake made with a lot of dried fruit and nuts. On the top of it, white icing is spread which represents snow. It is decorated with various Christmas decorations. We also make some

Village Traditions

​A little pig for Christmas

A little pig for Christmas

In the villages of Cyprus each family used to buy a little pig on Palm Sunday, in spring. 2-3 days before Christmas this pig was slaughtered and cut into pieces. Some of pieces were put in wine, together with salt, coriander and hang to make smoked meat or sausages to eat them on Christmas Day.

​Olive Game

Olive Game

A common village tradition is to cross a leaf of olive tree by a fireplace and then, after making a wish to Saint Vassilis, toss it into the fire. Before tossing the dry leaf into the flames, you would say ” Saint Vassili King, show and illuminate if I am loved by…and then you name whoever’s love you are hoping for. If the leaf jumps up after you dropped it in the fire, then that means the person loves you. If not, you try again.

"Kalanda" (Christmas carols)

During the Christmas period we sing carols called "kalanda“ which have been handed down from Byzantine times. These Carols are usually sung , by children and teenagers who go round their neighborhood in groups .The house owners give some money and some sweets.

Saint Vasilis Day (Santas Day)

Saint Vasilis Day (Santas Day)

In Cyprus children used to get their presents on New Year's Day as this day is also Saint Vasilis Day. Saint Vasilis is the children's favorite Saint because he always comes with a bag full of presents. So on New Year's Eve, after the children had gone to bed, their mother puts under the Christmas tree a piece of vasilopitta and a glass of wine for Santa. The children wake up early in the morning to open Santas presents.

​Kserotiana - Kalikantzari & (Loukoumades)

Kserotiana - Kalikantzari & (Loukoumades)

On Epiphany Day, housewives baked “kserotiana” or “loukoumades” which is a kind of doughnut. They used to throw some doughnuts on the houses’ roofs so bugbears, or else “kalikantzaroi”, would eat and leave. After Mass, the village’s priest went around all the houses and sprinkled people with holy water. This custom is known as “Kalanta”. He was accompanied by a child who held the container with the holy water. All people would throw some coins in the container, as a gift to the priest. All children went around the houses singing, in order to gain some money, known as “ploumisma” in the Cypriot dialect.

We wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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