What Are the Kalikantzaroi?
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In Greek folk tradition, the Kallikantzaros represent a particular race of evil goblins that dwell underground but a rise to the surface during the 12 Christmas days (25 December to 6 January). It is said that this name has been derived from the word “Kalos-Kentauros”, which loosely translates to a beautiful centaur and that the creature has its roots in Ancient Greece. However, they aren’t depicted as beautiful. They are actually malicious, ugly creatures that leave their homes in the ground and come to earth during the Christmas season to wreak their havoc. Here is more information about them:
What the Kalikantzaroi Are
According to myths and legends, the Kallikantzaroi are malevolent creatures that come out during the night. The stories tell that there are ways how people could protect themselves during the days when these paranormal entities are out in the world. People would often go through measures to protect themselves from these creatures, such as leaving a colander near their doorstep. The purpose of this was to force the Kallikantzaroi to be distracted into counting the holes of the coal and instead of indulging in evil doings.
The creatures also could not count beyond number 2 since number 3 is holy according to Greek mythology. If they somehow counted till 3, it would lead to their own demise. Another mode of production involved leaving the fire burning in the fireplace all night long so that they cannot enter through the chimney.
Unofficial Sightings of These Creatures
While there is no historical evidence that would state when this entity first made an appearance, some Greeks have been known to imagine them to be beasts of various physical traits. While some people have believed them to have animal parts like a combination of horses legs, tusks of a boar, have hairy bodies, have a wide variety of body types, some people have also painted them to be humans that smell terrible.
Most of the pictures and other depictions show them to have pronounced male characteristics. Also, many Greeks have painted them to be having pointy ears, having black fur, a scary face that is quite similar to that of a dog.
How to Prevent the Kalikantzoros From Causing Harm
As mentioned above, there are several methods that are used to prevent these creatures from causing harm. One of the most common is to leave a colander out. Another method would be to leave the fire burning at your fireplace, so that the Kalikantzaroi couldn’t pass through it. In some places, people even burn the Yule log for as long as twelve days to prevent its advent to their homes. Foul smelling shoes are thrown to the fireplace by some people. This stench is supposed to repel the devil and compel them to stay away. People have also been known to wear garlic or hang the garlic from their homes.
It is hard to know whether the Greek people actually believe that the Kalikantzaroi exist. However, people do take the superstitions seriously and honor the traditions from year to year.
Categorized in: Greek Christmas Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston