It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Tomorrow at 19:15 in Syntagma square, the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyiannis will kick start the Christmas season by lighting a 21-meter-high fir tree decorated with 40,000 lights and hundreds of ornaments. The tree-lighting ceremony will be followed by a live performance by Greek pop star Tamta accompanied by the Athens Big Band.
This year’s seasonal lights will stretch across 120 kilometers of the capital, spreading Christmas cheer. All of this year’s lights (which are 15,000 more than last year) are LED and, according to the City of Athens, will save the city up to 80% in energy costs.
Syntagma Square, the Heart of Festivities
Syntagma square will be the hub of numerous live music performances from December 20 – 28, starting in the morning with orchestral ensembles, followed by gigs by up-and-coming bands and in the evenings featuring concerts by eminent Greek artists such as Nikos Portokaloglou, Evridiki and ENORASIS.
On December 23, the Athens Big Band will revive the “golden age” of jazz with songs made legendary by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and performed by Greek artists. On December 27, Athenians are invited to the concert “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the Choir of the Municipality of Athens and soprano Myrsini Margariti.
As with every year, Syntagma will also be the gathering point for Athenians to bid adieu to 2022 and welcome in the New Year. The City of Athens promises “an audiovisual extravaganza with lots of music, fun, dancing, fireworks, glitter, optimism and many surprises.” The municipality has also planned “a wild party featuring Athens’ biggest DJs” at the Varvakeio Market on Athinas street.
Christmas Across the City’s Neighborhoods
Also launching on the first day of December is a series of festive events that will happen around the city in 129 neighborhoods. Trees and other seasonal decorations will embellish 35 squares in all seven municipalities. Bakoyiannis said: “Aside from the glittering decorations, we have created – in cooperation with several cultural institutions – a dynamic Christmas program that aspires to turn Athens into a great festive scene for young and old alike. This Christmas, we’re all together again on the streets of Athens. Let it be the best!”
From December 23 to January 6, 10 of the city’s neighborhoods will be transformed into “Christmas villages” where Santa and his elves will welcome children and adults to enjoy crafts, treats, face-painting and other interactive experiences. The presence of stilt walkers, jugglers, Christmas mascots, animators, puppets and magicians, will add to the fun.
Christmas Eve with Light-Filled Wishes
On December 24, citizens are invited to Kotzia square where the City Hall will light up the sky above Athens with their wishes. Greek radio station Pepper 96.6FM will be there playing a live music set to get the party vibes going.
Omonia Christmas Market
From December 17 to January 5, the spirit of the festive season will also spread to Omonia Square, where the Omonia Christmas Market will offer passers-by Christmas delicacies and gifts while also hosting a series of special events.
Meanwhile, on December 29, the Moxy arcade in central Athens will host a Christmas party with lots of music played by Best 92.6FM radio DJs.