Greek Language Blog

Greek Christmas vocabulary Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Culture, Vocabulary

Studio Amore under a CC license on Flickr

Studio Amore under a CC license on Flickr

Χρόνια πολλά! It will be Christmas soon so this post is about Christmas vocabulary. If you want to send wishes to your friends and family in Greek, below there are some common phrases that we use:

Καλά Χριστούγεννα (kala hristougena): Merry Christmas

Σου εύχομαι καλά Χριστούγεννα (sou efhomai kala hristougena): I wish you Merry Christmas (informal)

Σας εύχομαι καλά Χριστούγεννα (sas efhomai kala hristougena): I wish you Merry Christmas (formal)

Χρόνια πολλά (hronia pola): it is difficult to translate because there is no similar expression in English. We use it to wish people to live many years.

Καλές γιορτές (kales giortes): from γιορτή (feast, holiday). It means “nice holidays”.

Καλή Χρονιά (kali hronia): Happy New Year

Καλή Πρωτοχρονιά (kali protohronia): Happy New Year’s Eve

Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος (eftihismeno to neo etos): Happy New Year (formal). This is often written in formal cards.

Be careful: χρονιά and χρόνος mean year. However, we never say “Καλό χρόνο”.


j_silla under a CC license on Flickr

j_silla under a CC license on Flickr


And some basic words:

η παραμονή των Χριστουγέννων (ee paramoni ton hristougenon): Christmas’ Eve

η παραμονή της Πρωτοχρονιάς (ee paramoni tis protohronias): New Year’s Eve

η Χριστουγεννιάτικη κάρτα (ee hristougeniatiki karta): Christmas card

το Xριστουγεννιάτικο δέντρο (to hristougeniatiko dentro): Christmas tree

το αστέρι (to asteri): star

η φάτνη (ee fatni): manger

ο Χριστός (o Hristos): Christ

οι τρεις Μάγοι (ee tris magoi): Three Kings. (Literally, three Wizards).

ο άγγελος (o agelos): angel

οι μπάλες (ee bales): balls

η γιρλάντα (ee yeerlanda): garland

τα φωτάκια (ta fotakia): lights

το κερί (to keri): candle

τα στολίδια (ta stolidia): ornaments

το γκι (to gkee): holly

τα κάλαντα (ta kalanda): Christmas Carol

το καμπανάκι (to kabanaki): bell

η κορδέλα (ee kordela): ribbon

τα δώρα (ta dora): presents

ο Άγιος Βασίλης (o agios Vasilis): Santa Basil (Santa Claus). People traditionally exchange gifts in January 1st. This day Άγιος Βασίλης is honored and people who are named Βασίλης (Vasilis) or Βασιλική (Vasiliki) celebrate their name day. Άγιος Βασίλης is the Greek Santa who was not wearing red and did not have a sleigh with reindeer. The western Santa was introduced in the Greek culture after the 50’s.

η βασιλόπιτα (ee vasilopita): New Year’s cake

το έλκηθρο (to elkithro): sleigh

ο τάρανδος (o tarandos): reindeer

ο καλικάντζαρος (o kalikantzaros): goblin

το ξωτικό (to ksotiko): elf

You can see the vocabulary here: Καλά Χριστούγεννα




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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


  1. Novparl:

    N’est-ce pas MAGI et pas MAGOI?

    • Ourania:

      @Novparl Le g est prononcé comme y au “yaourt”.