Karavaki - The Greek Christmas boat

Karavaki - The Greek Christmas boat

Greece has always been a marine country and Greeks have strong emotional and financial ties with the sea

Decorating a ship for Xmas symbolizes these strong ties with the sea and serves as a token of gratitude to the sailors, fishermen, and captains who devote their lives to the sea for the good of their families and country. Greek homes, therefore, especially in the islands, traditionally made and decorated a simple fishing boat during Christmas. A custom you still find in some islands as the main Xmas ornament.

Kids prepared their simple boats made of paper or wood, and on Christmas Eve, would visit all the village houses singing kalanda (Xmas carols) collecting treats which they placed on their boats.  

According to tradition, the boats were placed near the main door or by the fireplace with the bow pointing towards the house centre. They placed a small golden object or coin in it symbolizing and wishing a full load of riches for the home.

The photo is taken at Ag Paraskevi, Kastellou, Chios 1962

Photo source Kathimerini  https://www.kathimerini.gr/culture/562208965/karavaki-ena-ethimo-poy-pleei-aiones-sto-aigaio/

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