Greece is known for her beautiful weather and sunny days. The magical birthplace of democracy, philosophy, Olympics, and so much more has almost 300 days of sunshine per year, even during the winter season when the rare “Halcyon Days” phenomenon, also known as the Alkyonides Days, causes a mini summer break in the middle of the winter. The Greeks refer to these days as the “Alkyonides Meres” or “Halcyon days” which translates to calm, peaceful days in English.
Each year, the Alkyonides Days take place from December 15 to February 15 and most commonly between January. 16 to 31. The weather during this time brings lots of sunshine with clear skies and no wind, with high temperatures that are not normal for the season. The temperature rises to above 20 C during these special winter sunny days.
The Alcyone bird belongs to the kingfisher family (Alcedinidae) and the legendary Queen Alcyone derives its Latin name from it. It was assumed in ancient times that they laid and hatched their eggs in the winter. At sea, they make a floating nest. In winter, Alcyone was sitting in her floating nest.
However, her nest and her eggs were destroyed every winter by the harsh waves and winds of the rough sea. Alcyone stayed childless and got very lonely and melancholic. The supreme god Zeus, according to the Ancient Greek mythology, agreed that Alcyon’s father had to lock up the winds in his cave during the winter for a span of around 14 days. The sea would be calm in that way, and Alkione would have been able to hatch her eggs in peace. This is how we get the “Halcyon Days”name for this unique Greek weather phenomenon.