The Southern Cross : December 09
news Page 4 December 2009 The Southern Cross www.adelaide.catholic.org.au COOKING UP A STORM: Anna Savas shows husband Sam some of the traditional Greek sweets that will be featured on their Christmas menu this year. Anna's Greek Christmas A week before Christmas, don't expect to see Anna Savas out and about shopping at Burnside Village. Instead, she will be holed up in her kitchen, cooking up a storm and producing n u m e r ous Greek treats to tempt friends and family on the big day. T h e r e will be kourambias (almond biscuit with icing sugar), almond flaked biscuits, the traditional baklava and kataifi -- and don't forget the mouthwatering loukoumathes (honey puffs). This is followed on New Year's Day with delicious finikia (biscuit dipped in syr up with a crushed walnut topping). Food and family are the mainstays of G r eek celebrations. "The sweets are a big par t of what we will eat," Anna says, adding that also featuring on the Christmas lunch table will be hot turkey with a delicious s t u f fing, ham, seafood, plum pudding, pavlova, tiramisu and champagne jelly andfruit. While traditional Greek fare is important, many years of living in Australia has seen some of the older traditions phased out. Traditionally, G r eeks fast for 40 days in the lead-up to Christmas, giving away meat or dair y p r oducts, but this is no longer recognised by Anna and Sam. The tradition of opening presents on New Ye a r 's Day has also been thrown out. "I remember as a young girl going to my Godmother's house and wishing her a happy New Ye a r , and then finally being able to open my presents," Anna recalls. Nowadays, after attending the morn i n g ser vice at the Cathedral of Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Franklin Stre e t , the Savas family heads home to share gifts. Lunch is the main meal of the day and ever yone gets dressed up for the occasion. Food and clothes aside, being with their t h r ee adult sons, their wives and grandchildren is what makes their Christmas so special. "It is always ver y impor tant for us to be together at Christmas," Anna explains. The celebrations don't end on December 25 as New Year's Day is also big on the Greek calendar and once again, food features prominently! Delicious loukoumathes are eaten, there is a big seafood lunch of lobster and prawns and then a vasilopita (good luck) cake is cut and divided amongst the family. The big sponge is filled with gold coins and each person and the house receives one slice -- bringing good luck for the year ahead for the lucky recipient. "It used to be fine when we could put in the one and two cent pieces, but now i t 's go ld coins -- it's just so expensive," she laughs. Different Christian religions have different ways of celebrating Christmas Day. As the festive season gets under way, LINDY McNAMARA speaks with Anna and Sam Savas from the Greek Or thodox Church on their family traditions.