Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OPA! Greek Holiday Style

As the holidays are steadily approaching, we reminisce on what we are thankful of, celebrate family and friends and spend time making memories with loved ones. With every holiday comes special traditions and celebrations, holiday meals - that almost always are specific by culture and family. Greek holidays are unique and exciting!

Many Greek Orthodox (and Catholic, or Episcopalian) churches have a particular saint that they honor in a festival and religious service. In Greece, a panagiri, or large feast & festival, occurs when a city or village celebrates religious people with the same name as the saint being honored. Many festivals are held on high points of elevation, or at a monastery. There are several of these through the holiday season. There are small herding villages and larger townships, such as Kozani, who specifically honor the shepherds that lit the bonfires in announcement of Christ's birth. Known as the Kladaries, there is an entire ceremony around this commemoration. Attendees can expect bonfire dancing, Greek dining, Greek wine and celebration - and the event is usually celebrated on the 23rd of December.

Greek Food plays a major role in Greek celebrations. While traditional stuffed turkey is always popular, most holidays have specific traditions and dishes. The slicing of vassilopita, or New Years Cake, is a desert specific to the Feast of St. Basil on January 1st. Later in the year, on Easter, a common Greek entrée served in celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection is lamb.

While enjoying family and friends this holiday season – keep in mind that Ziziki’s also offers holiday catering for your event, or private dining if you prefer to dine with a private corporate party or your family. Opa!

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