For visitors to Greece during this Christmas season, the religious feast of Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) is celebrated each year as pilgrims travel to Naxos for St. Nicholas in the village of Kynidaro, and to the old the chapel of Agios Nikolaos at Faros.
Traditional dishes of fried cod with garlic sauce are served in the chapel courtyard of the chapel, which is accessible by land and by sea. Local boats deliver quests, but pedestrians can reach the chapel via a 20-minute pleasant walk on a path that begins at the port.
For those unfamiliar, St. Nicholas, Nikolaos, is the patron saint of Greece, primarily associated with sailors and the sea. At Christmas time small fishing boats all over Greece honor St. Nicholas, and especially those of the out Islands. Traditionally, Nikolaos’ clothes are soaked with brine, his beard always dripping with seawater, and his face covered with perspiration because of fighting those fierce storms at sea.
Most all Greek ships carry an icon of St. Nicholas, as he is regarded as master of wind and tempest. Sailors also light a candle beneath an icon of the saint, and pray for their safe passage. The Greek Navy also pays tribute to the patron saint of sailors with a special ceremony at the Hellenic Naval Academy.