Santa Claus boats of Chios
Every New Year’s Eve, downtown Chios, right in the central square, a custom reveals: The Santa Claus boats of Chios, ship replicas crafted by men, demonstrates their beauty, accompanied by their crew – the team that build the boat which actually is smaller replicas of historical ships of Greece naval forces with significant participation to the history of the island and the greater area in general.
This custom is coming from the ages of Balkan Wars where Greek people from Chios, Psara and Asia Minor intended to honor and celebrate the victories of the Greek Naval in sea-battles.
Since then, small groups of friends from various parts of Chios are working months before the day of presentation to prepare the finest ship, either merchant of naval, in accordance with the regulations posed by the Municipality of Chios and the Touring Club of Chios which are the officials organizing the activity.
During the last day of the year, the crew and the boat are travelling to the main square of Chios singing local carols (=painemata) for good health and prosperity while political satire is not missing.
Even there is a prize for the winning boat (and team), importance is given to the participation and the prevention of the custom for more years to come.