Groups of children would visit houses and shops to sing on the eve Christmas, New Year and the Epiphany accompanied by a small metal instrument in the shape of a triangle called a trigono.

This tradition goes back before Roman times whilst on Corfu Island and all other parts of Greece the tradition still holds strong today.

Originally children would hold an olive or a laurel branch and a piece of white wool whilst singing and people would offer them gifts. Today the symbolism seems to have been quenched by the reward of money but the sight of small children singing is still endearing.

There are many variations of Christmas songs with some regions of Greece having their very own lyrics and tunes.

Corfu has its own rhythm of course as do some of the villages on the island. Music has played a big part in the cultural and social identity of Corfu with a lot of children following some form of music education at some stage in their early development.

The much loved painting depicted above is by well known Greek artist Nikiphoros Lytras (1832-1904) who paid great attention to ethnographic themes and portraiture.

It is joy that singing carries with it and  a tradition we hope will never go out. In Greek we say Χρόνια Πολλά (Chronia Polla) to wish our friends and loved ones many happy returns.

So Χρόνια Πολλά to you too!

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