- Title: Athens lights up for Christmas
- Date: 9th December 2016
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (DECEMBER 9, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CROWD GATHERED FOR CHRISTMAS BOAT LIGHTING/BRASS BAND PLAYING ON STAGE CROWD CHILD ON ADULT'S SHOULDERS BAND PLAYING / GIRL IN SANTA HAT DANCING VARIOUS OF SAXOPHONE PLAYER
- Embargoed: 24th December 2016 19:03
- Keywords: Athens Greece Christmas holiday boat
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Reuters ID: LVA0015C5YBMH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Athens inaugurated its holiday season on Friday (December 9) by holding a concert and lighting up a large boat made of twinkling lights in the capital's central Syntagma square.
For decades in Greece, boats decorated with Christmas lights were the centrepieces of homes during the holiday season instead of Christmas trees.
Athens mayor, George Kaminis, gave the signal to light the boat, expressing his own Christmas wish for all the city's residents to celebrate as one.
"We are celebrating all together, without exceptions, residents, visitors, and some who, on their search for a better life find themselves in Athens against their will," said Kaminis, referring to the tens of thousands of migrants trapped in Greece.
People took photographs and videos on their mobile phones as a brass band played, but the mood was subdued as the country is in its seventh year of a debt crisis.
Negotiations over the completion of Greece's second bailout review are ongoing, as Athens has rejected its creditors' demands for more austerity measures beyond 2018.
Greeks have lost almost a third of their income since the crisis started in 2009. Thousands have lost their jobs amid a deep recession. Unemployment in September stood at 23.4 percent.
Parliament is expected to vote on the budget on Saturday (December 10).
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