Can Anyone Help with Some Greek Songs and Rhymes?

We’ve been emailed some questions about Greek songs and rhymes.  Here are the emails:

1. O pateras olon…

Hello Mama Lisa,

I’ve stumbled upon your site and very happy to do so.  My husband and I are becoming grandparents for the first time and while we await the arrival of our grandbaby, I want to brush up on my Greek nursery songs and such.  Thank you very much for your dedication and passion, it shows in your work. 

When I was a child, I learned a poem, but now do not remember it entirely.  Have you heard of this?

"O pateras olon mas kai kala paidakia, olon ton kosmo eplase ton ilion kai ta strakia.  Ta louloudiakia monon aftos xeri pos na ‘nthizi, kai me hilia hromata na ta hromatizi.  Aftos dini tin trofi se mikra poulakia, tin drosoula tis avgis se agria louloudiakia…"

I very much appreciate your assistance in tracking this down.  Will await your response.


Diane Pappas

2.  Cincila, cincila 

Dear Lisa,

First, congrats for the wonderful blog! It went immediately to my bookmarks. I found it accidentally trying to find a children song that I heard twice during our vacation in Greece a week ago. I don’t know if this is a Greek song, but I just loved it and I keep on singing the refrain – the only thing I remembered. It’s something like "Cincila, cincila…" (I thought it was for a cincila cat, but it is possible that’s just my imagination  :) .

The song is performed by a female singer with an infant voice. Unfortunately Google returned no results for such a song except for a punk-rock song "Cincila", which is definitely not what I look for.

I’m really sorry to disturb you for such a thing, but I’ll be sooo happy to find it or at least  to know the title/artist/anything of this song. And I see you’re a specialist in childrens music and entertainment so I thought you could help.

Many thanks in advance!
Best regards,

3.  Tickling Rhyme

Hi I was wondering if you could help me. I’ve been looking at your site for international song lyrics. My father recently passed away and he would say a little verse in Greek to my kids. It was only a few lines long. It could have been round and round the garden in Greek. As he would finger step up their arm and tickle them under the chin. I would love to know the words phonetically in English. I did type them into a translator but can’t read Greek.Thanks heaps for your assistance

Alena Anamourlis

If anyone can help with any of these questions, please let us know in the comments below.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 7:29 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Greece, Greek, Greek Children's Songs, Greek Nursery Rhymes, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Readers Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

18 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with Some Greek Songs and Rhymes?”

  1. Sue Says:

    Can you help me find the folk song that is sung by a fourteen year old folk singer? The song is about putting a baby to sleep. She sings the song in Greek. She may be older now. Thanks

  2. Antoniou Despina Says:

    I would like to respond to the email about the Tickling Rhyme. I am Cypriot and we speak Greek there and we also have our own dialect! If i am right the song is the one that goes like:
    Paee o lagos na piee nero stoo _____ (name for ex Paul) to lemo (if boy)
    Paee o lagos na piee nero stis ______ (name for ex Helen) to lemo (if a girl)

    Which is translated as: The bunny will drink water from ____’s neck.

  3. Marie Says:

    THANK YOU for the tickling rhyme! My yiayia used to do this to me all the time. I was going crazy thinking I would never find it. Don’t ask me why I didn’t just ask my mother or aunt…

  4. peter Says:

    My yiayia used to sing me a nursery rhyme. Al la la a la li etsi gani do moro, al la la a la li etsi gani do bethi and wave a doll at me from side to side. Does anyone have the whole Greek translation please?

  5. Mags Says:

    Can anyone tell me where I might find a video ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ in Greek as my Granddaughter loved a ride in Kefalonia that played it.

  6. stalia Says:

    Mag here is a video of the song you are searching

    The greek version is call “Haropa ta dyo mou heria ta xtypo”

  7. Monique Says:

    The Greek lyrics can be found on this site among others by putting the Greek title into Google (Χαρωπά τα δυο μου χέρια τα χτυπώ ).

  8. Susan Traxel Martin (Kokkinakos) Says:

    My mother in law used to play a game and song with my son when he was 1-3 years old. She would take his finger of his right hand and place the tip of his finger into the center of his left hand palm. She would rotate his finger back and forth and sing a song. I asked her once what it was about and she said in broken english “Jealous” and maybe something about Icarus.

    It phonetically sounded something like this…. Zellia, zelleya, zeeyah……….. nah poo tha key ….eek kah rose

    My grandson is 18 months and I keep hearing yaiyai in my mind singing this song…

  9. Aleen Pappas Crispino Says:

    My Gia Gia, who came to America from a village near Sparta, would recite the same tickling rhyme to us with the same translation about the thirsty bunny. I don’t speak Greek, but it sounded to me like “Pala gosta pinero. Mestou (child’s name) sto laimo.” Google says bunny in Greek is lagoudaki and neck is laimos. But can anyone make more sense of the sounds I remember?

  10. Bianca Mortezof Says:

    Hi my yia yia use to sing this song to me when I was little and still does over the phone to this day sometimes but she’s gone down hill and I plan to get a tattoo of the Greek lullaby in her honor but don’t know what it’s called, went a little something like this –

    “Ah neveno stisika
    Ke pato se karithia
    Peno to gleco graci
    Meh ti coupa ti crisi
    Ke fonaso coui coui and nobody me coui”

    If you could help me that would be amazing! Thank you.

  11. Monique Says:

    The song goes like this:
    Ανεβαίνω στη συκιά
    και πατώ στην καρυδιά
    πίνω το γλυκό κρασί
    με την κούπα τη χρυσή
    και φωνάζω κούι κούι
    και κανένας δε μ’ ακούει.

    It means…

    I go up to the fig tree
    and I go to the walnut tree
    I drink the sweet wine
    with/in the golden cup
    and shout kui kui
    and no one hears me.

  12. Melanie Perrachon Says:


    I ran into a woman at Trader Joe that said her yiayia would sing her a song that sounded like:

    Sheddy, sheddy, argacea, feggy feggy, oak no rea, argetty cos a fos a nicky fos

    Does anyone know what song this could be? I am wondering if the Yiayia was saying hand, hand in greek which is χέρι.

  13. Ronald Demos Lee Says:

    My grandmother was born on Cyprus and went to school in Smyrna around 1880, then raised her family in Constantinople. My mother migrated to the US where I was born. I remember a nursery rhyme or child game she and her relatives did with us. You take the child’s hand (or foot), and trace a circle round and round on the palm while you say this:

    Piri piri tofto piri, tofto gallo to calo yiri.
    Then there was a passage I can’t recall, which I fill in with random ancient Greek names. Then you pat/slap the child’s hand with your hand and say “Chsilo chsilo chsilo chsilo chsilo”. Then you grab both of the child’s hands and clap them together.

    I would really like to get the correct words because I fear my rendition has drifted far from the original over the many decades since I got it from my mother.

    Seems obscure, but can anyone help with it?

  14. Magdalena Says:

    When I was about seven years old at Greek school we were taught a rhyme similar to eeny meeny miny mo. All I can remember is that it was about a car and colours. Began with the phrase, «έχω αυτοκηνιτο». I’ve been trying to find it for years but no luck.

  15. Wendy McMullan Says:

    I am trying to trace a verse I heard in modern Greek. In English it went: Where are my roses, where are my violets, where is my beautiful parsley? Here are your roses, here are your violets, here is your beautiful parsley.

    The Greek words were like this: pou moi ta rhoda, pou moi ta ia, pou moi ta kala selina…

    No idea where I heard it.

  16. Lisa Says:

    I found the following in “The history of the manners and customs of ancient Greece” (1842) by James Augustus St. John”

    “The Anthema or Flower-dance, appears to have been chiefly performed in private parties by women, who acted certain characters and chanted, as they moved,

    Where is my lovely parsley, say?
    My violets, roses, where are they?
    My parsley, roses, violets fair,
    Where are my flowers? Tell me where.”

    This translation seems to have been written to rhyme as opposed to a direct translation.

    Is this the Greek text? It seems like a fragment from an ancient song that was used to help teach Greek.

  17. Lisa Says:

    Monique wrote:

    You can find this text here and here:

    ποῦ μοι τὰ ῥόδα, ποῦ μοι τὰ ἴα, ποῦ μοι τὰ καλὰ σέλινα;

    ταδὶ τὰ ῥόδα, ταδὶ τὰ ἴα, ταδὶ τὰ καλὰ σέλινα.

  18. Christina Says:

    My Yiayia used to sing a song that went something like this Spango Kalango Tritchia Kalango… it has to be over 100 years old. Anyone know the words?

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