Part of Greek folklore, the kalikantzaroi are mischievous and malevolent hairy goat-bodied creatures that are said to dwell underground, or in the center of the earth. What they do there all year is attempt to cut down a large tree trunk symbolizing the foundation of life on earth.
During the Christmas and New Year season, tradition has it that the kalikantzaroi are able to escape to the earth’s surface where they trot around causing trouble. Local Greek customs have over the years formed around the idea that these naughty little guys are out for no good, doing things to scare people all around town. As such, rituals are traditionally performed in hopes of keeping families safe from the kalikantzaroi.
They include sprinkling Holy Water around the house, and repelling these pests with burning incense and cross signs above front doors and entrances. Resembling little devils, the kalikantzaroi roam free for twelve days between Christmas and the Epiphany, during which the tree trunk of life heals itself completely. Once cast back underground, the kalikantzaroi must start their evils deed all over again.
Luckily for us, they never have enough time to cut down the tree!