Άγιος Βασίλης (Saint Basil)

A little insight into why the shops are still busy and and The Greek children will be getting (potentially!) their second batch of presents on New Years Day.

Traditionally, Greek children don’t receive presents from Santa Claus on December 25, although these days many do, but are visited by Agios Vasilis (Saint Basil or Basil of Caesarea), the Greek Father Christmas, on January 1.

Saint Vasilis, became the Greek Father Christmas, as a result of his kind and humble character, and his generosity towards the poor, to whom he distributed all his worldly goods.

The tradition is the same as Santa Claus; Agios Vasilis arrives with his bulging sack of toys and gifts, children are told, in the run up to New Year “If you don’t behave, ‘Agios Vasilis’ won’t visit you”, letters are sent to him, but rather than rounding up the reindeer and hopping on his sleigh in Lapland, Agios Vasilis sets off from Caesarea (Kayseri, modern day Turkey), for his busy New Year’s Eve in Greece.

 

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