Christmas in Greece: Hristoxyla, Macedonia

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It’s never cold in Greece… That’s a huge lie. Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe and it can get quite cold. Especially, in its more northern parts like the region of Macedonia. That’s why, especially in the past, lighting a fire was a must in the houses of people from Macedonia. This need for warmth is what probably gave birth to the Greek Christmas tradition of “hristoxyla” or Christ’s firewood. 

According to tradition, the head of the house searches for firewood on the days right before Christmas. Once the right log is located, usually from a pine or olive tree, it is put inside the fireplace and it is supposed to be burning for 12 days, until Epiphany day on January 6th. 

Greeks believed that this would help keep baby Jesus warm in the manger. They also believed that the ash that was left as the log was burning would help protect the house and the crops in the new year.

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