A great source to read about the folklore of the Macedonians around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th,comes from the book of George Frederic Abbot”Macedonian Folklore”.The author had carried a decent research related to the customs of the Macedonians. In the aforementioned book, he presented it while he compared it to the customs of the rest of Greeks,
You can find the entire book here.
Incense is burnt before supper, a chief item of which is the
cake known as ‘ Christ’s Cake ‘ (Χριστόπηττα}. In Southern
Greece it is also the custom to make on this day a special
kind of flat loaves with a cross drawn on the top and called
‘ Christ’s Loaves ‘ (Χριστόψωμα). The cloth is not removed
from the table ; but everything is left as it is, in the belief
that ” Christ will come and eat ” during the night. A log is
left burning in the hearth, intended to ward off the Karkantzari.
In Thessaly an old shoe is also thrown into the fire : the smoke
and the smell of burnt leather being considered offensive to
the nostrils of these fiends.
With the custom of leaving the cloth on the table and a
burning log in the hearth may be compared the similar ob-
servance in Brittany and other parts of Western Europe on
the eve of All Souls’ Day, the theory in those countries being
that the souls of the departed will come and partake of the
supper and warm themselves at the fire, while their living
relatives are in bed.
At eveufall the village boys form parties and go about
knocking at the doors of the cottages with sticks, shouting
‘ Kolianda ! Kolianda ! ‘ and receiving presents. Both the
custom and the stick are named after this cry, which, like
its variants to be noticed in the sequel, is an adaptation of the
Roman and Byzantine term Kalendae.
the peasants each pick up a stone which they deposit in
the hearth-corner (γωνιά), allowing it to remain there till
Twelfth Day, when it is thrown away. An analogous custom
prevails on New Year’s Day in some of the islands of the
Aegean as, for instance, Chios. When the family return home
from morning service, the father picks up a stone which he
leaves in the yard, with the wish that the New Year may
bring with it ” as much gold as is the weight of the stone.”
He also, on entering into the house at the head of his family,
takes a pomegranate out of his pocket and dashes it upon the
ground. On the symbolic significance ascribed to this fruit
I will comment later.
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