Today was “Christmas Around the World: Greece” in our little school. Actually, it was more of a Greece/Turkey hybrid, but it worked. I had to throw in Turkey because we also learned about Saint Nicolas (since the commemoration of his death is tomorrow, I wanted to make sure we read the story today, and kept things timely), who hailed from what used to be called Lycia, but is now Turkey.
It was quite amusing hearing Turkey and Bunny attempt to say “Merry Christmas” in Greek (and I have to admit, my pronunciation of “Kala Christougena” wasn’t that great, either!) We had a fun time learning about Greek children’s tradition of caroling to homes with triangles, drums, and sometimes, small boats, as a nod to their sea-faring tradition. They were very intrigued to learn about the treats the children often receive in response to their songs! Turkey and Bunny also enjoyed coloring a picture of this tradition from their new Christmas coloring books.
Turkey and Bunny were also quite surprised to learn that the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas a week later than most other Christians do. They did find similarities in our celebrations, though: we all go to church to celebrate Christ’s birth, many of the foods are the same, the Christmas tree with a star on top is the same, the gathering of friends and family is the same, not to mention the giving of gifts!
The highlight of the day, by far, though, was the eating of the baklava. Although I should have chopped the walnuts a little smaller, and I wrinkled some of the phyllo dough a little too much, it was delicious (and a nice bridge between Turkey and Greece, as there seems to be some question from where it originates)! I have to admit that I was a little surprised that Turkey and Bunny enjoyed it so much–I thought it might be a little too different for them, but they loved it, and had seconds after dinner tonight. Making baklava might even become a family tradition for the commemoration of Saint Nicholas every year!
We enjoyed our first stop across the world, and we’re definitely looking forward to visiting the Philippines, Italy, Mexico, and Germany in the next two weeks!