Kallikatzari – the Greek Christmas Hobgoblins

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Kallikatzari - the Greek Christmas Hobgoblins - hotelathensgreece.com
kallikatzaros (Hobgoblin)

Ac­cord­ing to the folk Christ­mas tra­di­tions, the kallikatzari are short, ugly crea­tures with many de­for­mi­ties.

It is believed that kallikatzari stay underground, sawing the world tree so that it will collapse, along with the Earth. However, according to folklore, when they are about to saw the final part, Christmas dawns and they are able to come to the surface. They forget the tree and come to tease peo­ple with many pranks and bring trouble to mortals.

Kallikantzaroi sawing the world tree Kallikatzari - the Greek Christmas Hobgoblins - hotelathensgreece.com
Kallikatzari sawing the world tree

Finally, on the Epiphany (6 January), the sun starts moving again, the priest of the vil­lage goes from house to house and sprin­kles the rooms with sanctified holy water and and they must return underground to continue their sawing. They see that during their absence, the world tree has healed itself, so they must start working all over again.

Kallikatzari - the Greek Christmas Hobgoblins - hotelathensgreece.com

a kids song about the kallikatzari

Φεύγετε να φεύγωμε
έρχεται ο τρελόπαπας
με την αγιαστούρα του
και με τη βρεχτούρα του.
Μας άγιασε μας έβρεξε
και μας, μας εκατέκαψε.

Flee!!so we all can flee
here comes the crazy priest
with his bundle of basil stems and leaves
dipped in holy water.
he sanctified us and wet us
and burned us away!!!

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