Christmas celebrations in Greece begin early around 20 December, when children make their rounds singing carols and continue until the end of the year.
Feast of St Basil
January 1 is the Feast of Ayios Vassílios (Saint Basil) and is celebrated with church services. It is also the day of the vassilopita, a sweet bread with a coin inside which brings its finder good luck for the future year. January 1 is also the day were gifts are given to the children.
On January 6, waters are blessed and evil spirits are banished. At lakeside, seaside or riverside locations, priests throw a cross into the water and young locals dive in to compete for the privilege and blessing of recovering it.