The Christmas boat!

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One of the most traditional symbols you can find these days in Greece, is a small boat decorated with lights.

This small boat is rooted in the traditions of a country with a symbiotic relationship with the sea. In fact on the many Greek islands the Christmas boats remain one of the most popular ornaments of the holiday season.

There are a lot of different legends that try to explain the tradition of the Christmas boat. One of them is related to Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), the Patron Saint of Sailors. This saint is celebrated on December 6, the day when many households start decorating their houses for Christmas. So, the boats are decorated in order to honor the saint, as well.

It’s also true that Greece had large amount of sailors, fishermen and captains which became symbols of local identity. On the islands, the wives, mothers, and daughters of seamen used to spend the winter months with their heart and mind at sea. These were months of expectation, hope, and prayer for their safe return. The joy of seeing the boats coming back, made the women celebrate in relief. So, the boat, according to another legend, is a symbol to honor those men coming back home.

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