If you happen to be in Cyprus during any of the many holidays they celebrate, you’ll want to know a little bit about the food they eat and the meaning behind it. The traditional dishes associated with different holidays are not only delicious, but they each have their own piece of the history and culture of the Cyprus people. The following is a brief introduction to some of the most common holiday celebrations and the foods that go with them.
New Years Day
Just as with most of the rest of the world, Cyprus celebrates the start of a new year with large parties and celebrations. Most of the parties you attend will have a special cake known as a “Vasilopitta”. The host of the party will cut each person in attendance a piece of the cake to celebrate the new year. In one of the pieces there will be a coin that was baked into it. The individual who gets the piece with the coin is believed to enjoy good luck and prosperity for the entire year.
The Epiphany is a religious holiday celebrated 12 days after Christmas. On this day most families will attend church and afterwords they will eat a dessert called “loukamades” together with their family.
This holiday is typically in February and occurs just before the religious season of Lent (the time preparing for Easter). This celebration is called “The Carnival” and there are many street festivals with dancing and singing. During these celebrations there will be a delicious pastry filled with cinnamon and anari cheese known as a Bourekia.
Many people in Cyprus take the lenten season quite seriously and part of that is the lenten fast. Depending on the religious background of a family they may give up certain things during this period. Many people will fast from fish, meat and dairy during lent to help them grow closer to God. During this time they often eat pastries such as the kolokotes and tahinopitta.
Families in Cyprus will gather together to celebrate Easter, and part of that celebration often includes food such as Avgolemono soup, Easter cakes and souvla. These celebrations are typically quite festive and a very enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Even visitors to the country at this time will see these dishes available at hotel buffet tables or as an addition to their entree.
Christmas is an important day in Cyprus, and along with the festivities you will find some very common culinary traditions. Almost everyone in the country will enjoy pork and chicken as their main dishes on this day, and they will often bake shortbread biscuits called kourambiedes and spicy buns drenched in honey called melomakarona.
The beautiful island of Cyprus has a lot to offer visitors throughout the year, and those looking to try the local cuisine it is a good idea to travel through the various regions. During your traveling you can meet new people and experience the culture of this great people.
Crystal Fae recently moved to Cyprus with her father. She enjoys exploring the culture by using a car rental in Cyprus so she can travel throughout the area quickly and easily.