Greek Carols for the New Year are different than the carols sung on the Christmas Eve. There are different versions in many regions in Greece and there are also quite many variations and different dialects.
The most common version of Greek carols for the New year are the one called “Arhminia kai arhihronia“, which translates to “Beginning of the month, beginning of the year”.
The Greek carol songs are a particular type of songs in Greek music, belonging to the folk tradition. We are not certain about their origins and their lyric writer – as with all folk songs, the creators are actually unknown.
However, when it comes to Greek carols for the new year, there is a little twist. If you ask most Greeks about the meaning of Arhiminia kai arhihronia, they will give you a vague explanation about it, talking about the tradition of the New Year and the greetings given to people.
However, the folk tradition reveals us that this Greek carol song has actually disguised 2 songs in one. Of course there are all about greetings and wishes, but almost every second lyric there is a reference to a love story.
A love story hidden in the lyrics of Archiminia ki Archihronia
The story takes place in the 17th century – more or less… A young man is in love with a noble woman and has the idea to express his love in the only way he can: by creating a song that communicates his message disguised within love lyrics.
“Please look at me, the young man”, he sings to his noble woman. He continues by calling her tall and beautiful like a high incense tree, a noble woman that doesn’t deal with him because he is of a different social status.
It’s actually quite interesting how the lyrics reveal the truth if you pay close attention, but still they are considered part of the Orthodox tradition – as if the love story of the lyrics in these Greek carols doesn’t exist!
1 thought on “Greek Carols for the New Year – Arhiminia kai arhihronia”
Thanks for this information about the song, which I had never been able to understand. The story about the hidden love story sheds a lot of light on the lyrics. However, the English translation is not really understandable. Here is my translation, which seems to convey the meaning of the lyrics more clearly. You are free to use it if you wish. Thanks again!
The beginning of the month and the beginning of the year,
my tall rosemary tree,
and it is the beginning – the beginning of our good year,
the church – the church with the holy throne.
The beginning [of the time] when Christ came
holy and spiritual,
to the earth – to walk on the Earth
and for us – for us to become good-hearted.
St. William (Basil) is coming,
and he won’t reject us,
from – from Kaisareia
You are royal, you are a noblewoman, my lady.
He is holding an icon and paper
with Christ the Savior
Pen – pen and ink,
Look at me, too – look at me, the brave young man.