The opening of the first ‘window’ of the Advent Calendar happens on 1st December. On each day of December, leading up to and including Christmas Eve, a window is opened to reveal an image, poem, religious verse or prayer, perhaps a small gift or even chocolate.
It’s often stated that Cyprus celebrates Easter more intensely than Christmas. However, at Londa Beach Hotel, preparations are well underway with a virtual opening of the first window to reveal this year’s Christmas and New Year Gala Dinner Packages featuring a special 5 course or La Carte menu. Curated and prepared by Londa’s Executive Chef, Vassos Michael, “the man behind the food”, it’s the authentic taste of Christmas in Limassol!
Spending the festive season in Cyprus is a firmly established tradition. Christmas holidaymakers simply can’t wait to leave northern Europe to its ever wandering jet stream and the bitter cold, polar air it brings, which can often hang around for days or even weeks on end. All the while, Cyprus islanders are enjoying mild Mediterranean currents unlikely to dip below 13℃ – even at night time! Many Christmas visitors return in the New Year with a so-called Winter tan!
More Christmas merriment – Mediterranean style
It’s no surprise then, that visitor numbers continue to rise every Christmas season. Nearly 88,000 festive holiday makers arrived in Cyprus in December 2016, an increase of just over 12 per cent on approx. 78,350 the year before. (Passenger Survey – Cyprus Statistical Service, Jan 2017). Will we see 100,000 this season? Around 1 in 7 of all annual visitors to the island stay in Limassol, so there could be more Christmas merriment – Mediterranean style – than ever before!
There’s plenty of Christmas cheer already on offer in Limassol as we begin the December countdown. Opening the first calendar window on Friday 1st December reveals “Christmas Wonderland in Lemesos* 2017”. (*traditional name for Limassol).
Featuring a Real Animal Manger, Santa Clause Grotto and a Christmas Market: There’s a stocking full of family activities, from riding a Carousel to Chocolate and Sweet workshops – even ‘North Pole’ games with real snow! Located in the Old Port Square just 6 kms (3.8 miles) from Londa Hotel, entrance is free every day. Mon – Fri 18:00 – 22:00 | Sat & Sun 11:00 – 22:00 plus Christmas Day & New Year’s Day 16:00 – 22:00. Closes 8th January.
More family Christmas mayhem begins the very next day, Saturday 2nd – at Masterland, Limassol – less than a 2 km walk from Londa. Every day for 6 weeks, a 7 metre (23 feet) high Christmas Tree at Central Square will be lit up to welcome Santa Clause, Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden! Also present will be Cinderella, Snow White and her dwarves, Olaf and other fairy-tale characters. Among the many popular activities, such as Christmas Cooking and Kids Face painting there will be a Christmas Fair, Santa’s Magic Post Office and a unique Fire Display and “Bubble” Show! Opening hours are Tue-Thu 14:00 – 20:00 | Fri: 14:00 – 21:00 | Weekends: 10:00 – 21:00.
Home-spun cultural experience… and another festive tradition
Visitors and guests seeking a different type of more home-spun cultural experience will have a fascinating opportunity from Saturday, December 9th at 17:00 when “Ark” – an initiative of local artists and craftsmen – will begin their 4th annual and unique Pop-Up shop, which continues until January 5th. Visitors to their exciting new Art Studio 55 (next to the Rialto Theatre) – located on Heroes Square at the heart of Limassol Old Town – will be able to enjoy an intriguing display of craftware, including, jewellery, artworks, home decoration, kid’s toys, handmade soaps, bags, clothes, accessories, and much more. Mon – Fri 14:00 – 21:00
Another festive tradition, and also an all round fixture in the Cypriot cultural calendar, is the staging of the Ballet. It’s therefore, most appropriate that the ballet is “The Nutcracker” – the story of a young girl who is given a Nutcracker doll for Christmas, which leads her and her Prince to the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ on an enchanted island. Playing at the Pattihio Municipal Theatre on Saturday 2nd December, 19:30, the Nutcracker – for which Tchaikovsky composed the legendary musical score – was first shown in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, and is still a much loved ballet for Christmas, 125 years later.
The Advent windows of boutique cultural opportunity to celebrate Christmas and see in the New Year are opening up ever faster as the December days countdown. Next time here…. more festive menu of delights Londa and Limassol-style.