Bonfires are lit on New Year's Eve to welcome the New Year. An ancient Pagan (Dionysian) custom on the shore of a beautiful, serene and at the same time surreal small village.
The fires of Christmas is an ancient custom that is very widespread in the villages around Florina in Greece. Large bonfires are being set in central squares and each village tries to make a bigger and better fire than their neighbors.
While waiting for the fire of Achlada to start at midnight, a custom that takes place in many villages around Florina on December 23, the guys we met there told us to go together at the next village, Giourouki, to see the fire there as well. They would start that earlier than Achlada, since that was a smaller village and most of the local people there would visit the big fire of Achlada later.
Purpuris will be visiting the houses of the village and dance around their yards. He will wish prosperity and fertility for the year to come and the house owner will treat him with food and drinks, usually Tsipouro.
Every year, during the twelve days of Christmas, the Momoyer come out to dance and wish for a prosperous, fertile New Year. An ancient pagan custom brought in Greece by the people of Black Sea.
During the first day of the year, in the town of Simitli in Bulgaria, the Kukeri custom takes place. A Dionysian custom from Thrace, where people are dressed in goat's skin, trying to chase away the Kallikantzaroi of Christmas.