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Athens, fascinating place
People usually have love or hate relationship with Greece's capital Athens, it all depends what you are looking for, those ones who love Greece, admire the wide variety of things to see in Athens, those hating it, do not appreciate the fact that half of Greece's population lives in this busy capital, making it a bit of chaos. No matter what, Athens always was and still is a very fascinating place, being one of the oldest cities in the world, and once you walk through Agora and the Acropolis, you will feel the important energy around it, it's a place where movement never stops and things are constantly happening. Even if it's busy and overpacked, there are still quite and romantic places to be found, such as neighborhoods Plaka and Mets.
There are thousands of things to do in this capital, but if you are searching for a traditional Greek celebration, December 6th will be perfect time for St. Nicholas, that comes with presents, a time when Greeks exchange with the presents, a bit different from Santa Claus that arrives on Christmas eve. So the Christmas atmosphere will start on December, Syntagma Square will be decorated with ornaments made by little ones from school, with a huge Christmas tree created by art students. The main action will be in three squares, Syntagma, Kotzia, and Klefthmono, where different concerts will be held, market stalls with delicious goods and happy people all around Athens.
There are many stories about the St Nicholas, many legends, in most of them he was a hero, who protected the poor, the sick and those ones who needed his help, and by the way he came before Santa Claus. He dedicated his life to serving God, and while young , he was made Bishop of Myra. Through the lands he became famous for his generosity to those in need, protecting sailors and ships and of course looking after little children. His death anniversary, the 6th December became a day of celebration, St Nicholas Day. For Greeks this day is not that much to give gifts to loved ones, is more a time to do something good, help someone in need, the poor and those ones suffering, a day for good things to happen.
All around Athens you will see many churches with candles all around, with St Nicholas being the patron saint of seafarers, travelers, children and orphans. Greeks traditionally will celebrate this day with less glitz there somewhere else in Europe, as the crises have hit the country, it's now up to cities and towns themselves to look after St Nicholas celebration and decorations, and they will ! You will be impressed, how little you need from material side, and how much we can actually do with good will.
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