Kalanda – the Greek Carols!

Kalanda (Carols) is one of the most famous old singing tradition in Greece!

They have their roots in the Byzantium and they signal the advent of 12 holidays also known as Dodecameron, which ends on Epiphany Day. On the eve of the most noted holidays such as Christmas, New Year and Epiphany, children sing special carols for each holiday, the so called Kalanda.HǍmБυđɊϭבɓԏՃō͉TɊ`ʁˁ͔`Ӕύ БυđϠԇӠć̏ʑTɁӠʁяˏ ЁЏՋɁ.(EUROKINISSI-ʏ͔QɍǓ ÉّÏө

Kalanda are sung mainly by children but it is not rare to be sung by a group of adults adults too. The carols sung by children are accompanied by the sound of a simple metal triangle, the typical music instrument of these days in Greece! Adults on the other hand often use a flute, a melodica or other traditional instruments to add a musical complexity and a more melodic sound to the kalanda.

The chanting culminates in various ways of wishing a long life to the landlord and his family. As a tradition the lady of the house offers small amounts of money for the children’s piggy bank. In the countryside, kids are offered traditional sweets of the season, almonds and fruits.

The Kalanda of Epiphany are sung on the 5th of January, the eve of Epiphany. Below are the lyrics in Greek!

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Σήμερα τα φώτα κι ο φωτισμός
η χαρα μεγάλη κι ο αγιασμός.
Κάτω στον Ιορδάνη τον ποταμό
κάθετ’ η κυρά μας η Παναγιά.
Όργανo βαστάει, κερί κρατεί
και τον Αϊ-Γιάννη παρακαλεί.
Άϊ-Γιάννη αφέντη και βαπτιστή
βάπτισε κι εμένα Θεού παιδί.
Ν’ ανεβώ επάνω στον ουρανό
να μαζέψω ρόδα και λίβανο.
Καλημέρα, καλημέρα,
Καλή σου μέρα αφέντη με την κυρά.