Over 220 Christmas Events Planned in Athens for the Holidays

FILE - A child poses for pictures in front of Christmas decorations in Mytilene, in the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

ATHENS – More than 220 events have been planned in the City of Athens for the 2017 holiday season, starting with the lighting of the Christmas tree in Syntagma Square next week, at 19:00 on December 12.

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis presented the municipality’s programme for Christmas and the New Year on Tuesday, which includes a range of outdoor and indoor activities for adults and children, from theatre and musical concerts to art exhibitions and Christmas fairs.

Venues will include Syntagma Square, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Monastiraki, Klafthmonos Square, Omonia Square, Panepistimiou Avenue and Thissio, as well as community centres in less central Athens neighbourhoods.

The municipality has adopted a thespian theme for this year’s decorations, while bands will play under the city’s Christmas tree from December 12-30 while a “Glasshouse-type” radio studio will be set up, where distinguished DJs will set the mood for the festivities.

Omonia Square will be decorated with a traditional Greek ‘Christmas boat’ and on December 21, the longest night of the year, there will be a concert by Lena Platonos at the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Meanwhile, activities relating to books, literature and science will be held at the Library-Academy-University complex on Panepistimiou Street.

Learning and general knowledge games for children will also be organised at more than 150 events in the centre and Athens neighbourhoods.

Klafthmonos Square will be a focal point for events aimed at children from December 19-31, while theatrical performances, art events and workshops will be held at museums, libraries, cultural centres and the Athens municipality’s pottery centre and the Kypseli municipal market is organising festive activities from December 14-24.

Athens will usher in the New Year with a big festival at Thissio featuring a surprise Christmas pageant planned and directed Yiannis Kakleas, Manolis Pantelidakis and Froso Lytra, with guests and Christos Ferentinos presenting.

This will be followed by the customary concernt and the countdown to midnight, with the Parthenon as a backdrop, will be given by Kaminis, after which Mariza Rizou and Panos Mouzourakis will take to the stage, in the first minutes of 2018. The New Year concert line up also features the bands Batuca, Batala, Artventure, Circus Dayz, the Athens municipality’s Philharmonic Orchestra playing Christmas songs and composer/violinist Evanthia Reboutsika at 22.