Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas Boats – Karavaki, a Greek Tradition

#AthenStyle #FamousHostels #Christmas2016

Have you ever wondered why in Greece at Christmas, we decorate boats?

The Christmas Boat (Karavaki- Little ship) is part of a very old Greek tradition. It comes from the Islands where each year children go door to door singing ‘kalanda’ (Christmas Carols) usually accompanied by instruments such as triangles, guitars, accordians and harmonicas. The children on the islands carry small wooden boats, either illuminated to light the way or with enough space to store treats given to them by the residents they sing for. Some claim that this custom’s roots are linked with the December 6th Celebration of Agios Nikolas (Saint Nicholas) who is the Patron Saint of Sailors in Greece.

The tradition also dates back hundreds of years when many Greeks were working as seamen. During Christmas time, when many were returning home after a long time at sea, their wives would celebrate by decorating small wooden boats as a way of saying welcome home.

This tradition has gradually spread inland with people all over the country beginning to decorate model wood or paper boats with lights and ornaments at Christmas time. Traditionally the boats are placed near the door or fire with the bow pointing inwards, this symbolises the boats making their journey towards the mainland. Sometimes coins or gold objects are also placed in the boats to symbolise riches entering ones home.

Surprisingly the Christmas Boat tradition has only become popular in the mainland in and around the last 30 years and is comparativley new compared to the Christmas tree. The reason for this is that the Greeks are aware that the Christmas tree is not traditonally part of their culture and was actually imported by their first king, Otto of Bavaria. They wanted to begin their own tradition using the boat, and by the number of people that seem to have taken up this tradition it has been very sucessful.

Here at our hostel in Athens we have decorated two boats to display in our window. But instead of welcoming seafarers we welcome our guests to spend Christmas with us, who will hopefully find a home away from home during the festive season :)

After all, in Greece we’re known to be travellers! Merry Christmas from the crew here at Athenstyle! x



Filed under AthenStyle Art Project, Athenstyle culture, Uncategorized

Christmas dinners in Athens – AthenStyle

Spending Christmas in Athens?

Join us for family-style Christmas Dinner on December 25th. The evening will begin at 7:00pm at the heated AthenStyle Rooftop Bar & Restaurant. Come enjoy the view, a traditional home-cooked meal and the good company!


If you plan to attend, please send an email to RSVP to info@athenstyle.gr

Wishing you a bright and joyful holiday season, whether at home or out on the road,
The AthenStyle Team



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Christmas in Athens..

Sooo..Christmas is coming! Also to Athens ;) Decorations and preparations in our beautiful city have already started! This year the most important Square in Athens, Syntagma, is going to have a really unique and eco-friendly art piece. Most of the decorations will be made by children and students of Athens’ primary schools. Using only recycled material they will decorate the trees in the Square in their own way, so you can expect lots of creativity and spontaneity! On the 9th of December everything will be ready, at 6:00 pm the Mayor of Athens (Yorgos Kaminis) will officially announce the start of the Christmas Celebrations and all the festivities will begin! It means that for 1 month every day and night you will have a chance to enjoy lots of free shows prepared voluntarily by hundreds of musicians, actors, dancers and many other artists! Doesn’t it sound niiiiice? Come to Athens and enjoy! Merry Christmas Everybody!!!



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