Our Everyday Greek: This New Year’s Eve We Sing in Greece

January 6, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou

These are the lyrics of the song we traditionally sing on New Year’s Eve, at midnight, when the lights turn off. «Πάει ο παλιός ο χρόνος, ας γιορτάσουμε παιδιά…» = “The old year is gone, let’s celebrate…”. Below are the lyrics translated in English.Though at a first glance the words sound strange and unknown, most of them are roots of modern English words. This is explained below to facilitate your learning.


Greek phrase  Pronunciation  Meaning

Πάειοπαλιόςοχρόνος PAi O paliOS O HROnos       The old year is gone

αςγιορτάσουμεπαιδιά.                        AS yioRTAsoome pediA         let’s celebrate, kids.

ΉρθεονέοςμεταδώραEErthe O NEos ME TA Dora  The new year has come with gifts     

μετραγούδιακαιχαρά. ME traYOOdia KE haRA        with songs and joy.

Γέρεχρόνε,     YEre HROne  Old year,

φύγετώρα,      FEEye Tora    go now,

πάει η δική σου η σειρά.         PAi EE dikEE soo EE siRA    your turn is gone.

Ήρθεονέοςμεταδώρα EErthe O NEos ME TA Dora The new year has come with gifts     

με τραγούδια και χαρά.          ME traYOOdia KE haRA        with songs and joy.

Καλήχρονιά,   kale horniA      Happy new year,

Χρόνιαπολλά. HROnia poLA live long.

Χαρούμενη     haROOmeni   Happy

η χρυσή Πρωτοχρονιά.          EE hriSEE protohroniA           Golden New Year’s Day.


Greek word     Pronunciation  Meaning

Πάει     PAi      is gone

Ο παλιός         OpaliOS          old

Ονέος  O NEos           new, young

Ο χρόνος        OHROnos       year

Ήρθε   EErhte has come

Ταδώρα          TA DOra                     gifts

Τατραγούδια   TA traGOOdia            songs

Ηχαρά EE haRA         joy

Γέρεχρόνε      YEre HROne  old year

Φύγε   FEEye go, go away

Τώρα  Tora     now

Ησειρά            EE siRA          the turn

Η δική σου      EEdiKEEsoo   your

Καλή   kale     good, happy

Χρονιά            hroniA  year

Χρόνιαπολλά  HROnia poLA live long

Χαρούμενη     haROOmeni   happy, joyful

Ηχρυσή           EE hriSEE       golden

ΗΠρωτοχρονιά           EE protohroniA           New Year’s Day


Though they seem unfamiliar, most of the lyrics’ words are used in English.

Παλιός: In English we find this Greek word in paleography (ηπαλαιογραφία), which means the study of old texts or in paleontology (ηπαλαιοντολογία), paleolithic (ηπαλαιολιθική).

Γέρος: In Greek means old in terms of the humans’ life span, while παλαιός refers to old objectsand as a first compound it refers to distant times of prehistory (see above). In English we find the word γέρος in the term Geriatric, the branch of Medical Science that specializes in the treatment of old men. 

Οχρόνος, ηχρονιά, ταχρόνια: all three words means the year,-s. Derivatives in English are words like the chrono+logy, the chronicle, the chrono+meter.

Παιδιά: It is the first compound of derivatives in English like pediatric and pedagogy.

Νέος: In English new.

Δώρα: The English name Dora from Theodora (=Θεοδώρα), which means God’s gifts (Θεός =God+δώρα).

Τραγούδια: A similar word, which also exists in English is tragedy, ητραγωδία. Etymologically, the tragedy, in Greek ητραγωδία and τατραγούδια as well come from the word τράγος, which means male goat and ωδή, ode, the song. The roots of both tragedy and τραγούδια are in Dionysus cult; priests and men in goat skin would sing and dance during Dionysus ceremonies.

Χαρά: from this verb derive in English the words charisma, charismatic.

Καλή:In English we find this word as a compound in words like calligraphy.

Χρυσή: Besides the name Chrysoula, the Greek word χρυσή is to be found in the name Croesus. 


i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.


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