Penelope wrote, "This last verse is sung at the end of every Greek carol to wish prosperity to the landlord."

Καλήν εσπέραν άρχοντες - Greek Children's Songs - Greece - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Here's the transliteration of the whole song:

Kalanta Xristougenon

kalin esperan arhontes
an ine orismos sas
Xristu ti thia genissi
Na po st' arhontiko sas
Xristos gennate simeron
en Vithleem ti poli
I ourani agalonte
Herete I fissis oli

en to spileo tiktete
en fatni ton alogon
o vassilefs ton ouranon
ke piitis ton olon
plithos agelon psalousi
to doksa en ipsistis
ke touton aksion esti
I ton pimenon pistis

Ek tis Pesias erxonte
tris magi me ta dora
Astro lambro tous odigi
Xoris na lipsi I ora

S'afto to spiti pou'pthame
petra na mi ragisi
ki o nikokiris tou spitiou
Xronia polla na zisi


The Greek Word for Christmas Carol is Kάλαντα Χριστουγέννων and it's pronounced Kalanta Xristougenon.

Penelope wrote about the language this carol is in:

"These carols are written in 'katharevousa'. It's the older language we had before the modern one. It was introduced in the 18th century and was used in the 19th and 20th century too. In the 20th century, it was used by the state and educated people only. It was abolished from schools in 1976.

BUT the origin of carols is much older. There were children going from door to door singing and celebrating the God Dionysous in Ancient Greece. They did that holding branches of olive or bay decorated with seeds and white wool and they were given presents. The wool symbolized fertility and euphoria. This custom went on in Rome and Byzantium.

The name of the carols you asked me for is Κάλαντα Χριστουγέννων (Kalanta Xristougennwn) = Christmas Carols.

Κάλαντα (Kalanta ) = Carols
Χριστούγεννα (Xristougennα) = Christmas
Χριστουγέννων (Xristougenοn) = of Christmas (genitive)

I hope this helped you understand more. So Κάλαντα Χριστουγέννων (Kalanta Xristougennwn) = Carols of Christmas only. But there are other Kalanta (carols) too. For example in Greece we have Carols for New Year, for Epiphany, for the Saturday before Palm Sunday, and for Great Friday. But unfortunately these carols are not sung any more. Not in Athens for sure. And in small villages and towns some kids sing them but very few. I used to sing all of them when I was a child (in the 60's).

Best regards

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Καλήν εσπέραν άρχοντες

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks also to Penelope Karagouni for contributing this song, translating it, transliterating it and sending the mp3 recording.

The photo above is of the oil painting called Carols (Kalanta) by Nikiforos Lytras (1832 - 1904) painted in 1872.

Ευχαριστώ πολύ!