From December 1 to January 7, the whole city sparkles, ready to offer authentic Christmas experiences to children and grownups.
The Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, stated on the occasion: “Starting from the neighbourhoods, this year Athens will celebrate Christmas brighter and more festive than ever.”
Thirty-eight days, 129 neighbourhoods, 10 Christmas villages, 120+ events for the whole family, 30+ music performances, Omonia Christmas Market, a two-day event for children at the Kypseli Municipal Market, parties around the city and many more.
This Christmas, too, Athens is “flooded” with lights and happy faces! Joy and cheerfulness are spreading in the neighbourhoods with the impressive city decoration to be ready by next Thursday, December 1, during the Christmas tree lighting in Syntagma Square.
Against all odds triggered by the energy crisis, the City of Athens, having already replaced the entire Christmas lighting of the city with LED in the previous two years, will offer Christmas without any brightness “discounts”. The savings achieved are as high as 80% compared to previous years.
The Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, underlined: “This year we celebrate Christmas in all 129 neighbourhoods of the city. We have started illuminating streets and squares, placing shiny decorations, and spreading the message of joy and optimism to all Athenians. Respecting the crisis and having replaced all Christmas lights with LED ones in time, we maintain the city’s festive atmosphere without making any cuts. Alongside the gleaming decorations, we have created – in cooperation with our cultural institutions – an original Christmas program that aspires to transform Athens into a great festive scene for young and grownups. We are all together again this Christmas in Athens to celebrate the Holiday Season. Let’s make this Christmas the best ever!”
Illuminated streets from the neighbourhoods to the centre
The total length of the Christmas lights already lit in the city’s neighbourhoods by the City of Athens is 120 km – more by 15,000 meters than last year. Impressive trees and structures decorate 35 squares in all seven municipal departments. At the same time, overhead and pole decorations – a total of 6,000, will brighten every corner, whereas light tubes of 60 km will shed light all over the city.
The 21-meter tall fir tree from Karpenisi – will be lit next Thursday, December 1, at 19.15, at Syntagma Square. This special celebration will have an international touch this year, as mayors from all over the world will join the Mayor of Athens in the lighting ceremony, sending a strong message of peace, unity and solidarity among nations.
The beautiful fir tree, which this year was sent to Athens from Karpenisi, is decorated with 40,000 string lights, 5 km long and hundreds of balls and ornaments.
Festive atmosphere everywhere
From December 1, for more than a month, Athenians and visitors will have the opportunity to live unique festive experiences in every part of the city.
In the centre and the neighbourhoods, the rich program of events designed for all ages and curated by the City of Athens Culture, Sports & Youth Organisation (OPANDA), the Technopolis City of Athens the This is Athens, Athens Culture Net and Athens 9.84, the city’s radio station, includes -among other things- activities for the whole family, music performances, “Christmas villages”, parties, impressive shows, an original Christmas Market in Omonia Square, as well as many festive surprises.
Music event on the evening of the tree lighting ceremony at Syntagma Square
Next Thursday evening, those attending the tree-lighting ceremony at Syntagma Square will enjoy a beautiful live concert in downtown Athens. The famous pop singer Tamta will perform live, in an unexpected partnership with the Athens Big Band. But, before her, PetrosKourtis and his band will cheer us up with their music.
The presenters of this year’s celebrations
For the first time this year, a trendy and successful duo, Fotis Sergoulopoulos and Jenny Melita, will host the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the New Year’s Eve celebrations with their humour and positive mood. They will both host the events of the City of Athens pro bono.
Ten “Christmas villages” in the neighbourhoods
From December 23 to January 6, the neighbourhoods of Athens, from Acharnon and Lambrini to Pagrati and Ellinoroson, will be transformed into “Christmas villages”. This year, two more will be added where the “heart” of Christmas will be beating. Santa Claus and his elves will be in place daily to welcome children and grownups with crafts, treats, face painting, stilt walkers, jugglers, Christmas mascots, animators, puppets and magicians, and many more interactive experiences.
Educational activities for families and children
Christmas is best appreciated by children and everyone who feels that way! That is why, from December 7 and for a whole month, a series of innovative and quality activities for children and grownups are organised in the venues of OPANDA, the Museums, the Libraries, the City of Athens Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, the City of Athens Cultural Centre “Melina”, as well as in the Creative Learning Centres in the seven Municipal Department, offering endless joy and smiles. In addition, this Christmas, the “Anna & Maria Kalouta” Multipurpose Centre is back renovated to welcome audiences with free music events and theatre performances.
Christmas is music, first and foremost.
Holidays without music are unheard of! Central to this year’s Christmas music events is Syntagma Square, where from December 20 to 28, there will be three live concerts every day. The concerts will start at 11 am with orchestral ensembles, followed at 14.00 by music from up-and-coming bands, while at 18.00 some of the most famous Greek artists will take to the stage: Among them Nikos Portokaloglou, Rena Morfi, Evridiki and Myronas Stratis, Stavento and IviAdamou,1550 and Dimitris Starovas, ENORASIS and others. Furthermore, The Olympia, City Music Theatre “Maria Callas” will host “Madame et son filleul” (The Godson) by Th. Sakellaridis, the most famous Greek Operetta, has been popular for years thanks to its exceptional music and hilarious plot. After the success of W.A. Mozart’s “Idomeneo”, George Petrou is back at Olympia directing the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra and Choir. He is accompanied by great opera singers and actors, bringing Sakellaridis’ masterpiece to life in a timeless production that combines contemporary aesthetics with Art Deco elements of the Greek Belle Époque.
On December 23, Just a few days before the turn of the year, the Athens Big Band welcomes us to a concert dedicated to the Christmas spirit with the excellent performers Stavros Romanos and Jenny Kapadai. The music of the golden age of jazz, with songs made legendary by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, and works by great orchestrators, will warm our hearts and brighten this year’s holidays!, under the artistic direction of Sami Amiris, while a few days later, on December 27, just before the New Year, the City of Athens Choir and soprano MyrsiniMargariti as a soloist, under the musical direction of Stavros Beris, will present a festive program with songs and hymns from all over the world, in compositions and arrangements for choir by Michael Adamis, Benjamin Britten, Franz Gruber, George Frideric Handel, William Mathias, John Rutter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, César Franck, Adolphe Adam, Jester Hairston, Johann Sebastian Bach and Bob Chilcott.
Omonia Square at its best
From December 17 to January 1, Omonia Square will also celebrate Christmas in a unique way. The Omonia Christmas Market, the capital’s new commercial and entertainment institution, will add a twist of glamour to the historic square, offering Christmas delicacies, gifts and plenty of fun through a series of events. Visitors will have the opportunity to taste savoury and sweet treats from specially designed stands, do their shopping and enjoy the wonderful Christmas atmosphere in the heart of Athens.
On December 29, in one of the most beautiful passageways of the centre, at the Moxy Hotel, a big Christmas party invites us all to dance and have fun, with songs chosen by the radio producers of Best 92.6.
Athens 9.84 celebrates Christmas in the centre and the neighbourhoods
The city’s radio station will also be actively involved in the celebrations, presenting a series of special activities this Christmas. On December 17 and 18, Syntagma Square will enjoy the station’s Christmas melodies and songs.
On December 18, in collaboration with the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, 9,84 will broadcast live the play “Scrooge” by the Kypseli Orchestra and the El Sistema Greece Youth Choir, which join their forces, bringing to life Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas carols.
On December 21 and 28, the station’s van will stop in two surprise neighbourhoods to broadcast two mini-concerts of favourite artists on-air. Manolis Famellos, the Yellow Bikes, Penny Baltatzi, AndrianaBabali, StathisDrogosis and many others will participate in these concerts, while on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it will give the floor to Athenians for wishes, dedications and much more!
From December 12 to 31, ten celebrated authors will take us on a journey to the magical world of their favourite books, selected from bookstores in the city. Eventually, on Thursday, December 22, Athens 9.84 will organize the Radio Marathon to support social groups in need. So tune in to 98.3 FM and the neighbourhoods of Athens…
The longest night of the year in the Anglican Church
On December 21, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the City of Athens, in collaboration with Pepper 96.6 radio station, organizes a live marathon with the participation of famous Greek and foreign artists who, in succession, on this longest night of the year, in the solemn atmosphere of the church of AgiosPavlos, will offer an unforgettable musical experience.
The atmospheric “Night of Wishes” – Christmas Eve
On December 24, children and grownups will “light up” the city with their wishes, and the sky at Kotzia Square will become the springboard for the traditional lanterns of the “Night of Wishes”. At the same time, Pepper 96.6 radio producers will play live, while a big radio station party will follow in front of the Athens City Hall.
Two days of special happenings for children at the Kypseli Municipal Market
For two days, on December 26 and 27, the Kypseli Municipal Market will welcome kidsradio.com and the children’s favourite producers, Fani and Nikos. Children will have the opportunity to listen to their favourite songs, take pictures and exchange wishes.
New Year’s Eve at Syntagma Square
New Year’s Eve celebrations are back at Syntagma Square! We bid farewell to 2022 and welcome the New Year with an audiovisual extravaganza with lots of music, fun, dancing, fireworks, wishes and positive energy.
A wild New Year’s Eve party at the Varvakeios Municipal Market.
After welcoming New Year, we head to the Varvakeios Municipal Market, the city’s most iconic market, to welcome 2023 with a wild party featuring some of Athens’ most famous DJs.
Please, note that the programme is subject to change
For more information and the detailed program of events, please click here: https://cultureisathens.gr/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/2022_PROGRAM-_final.pdf
The program will soon be available at cultureisathens.gr
Download the Culture is Athens app for free on your mobile phone directly from Play Store and App Store and stay tuned. The best is yet to come!
For updated event photos and videos, check the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/992fssoknm1afv8akomzk/h?dl=0&rlkey=po8jm60hs7vyiqkytighss249.