December 11 - Athens kicks off Christmas celebrations with old traditions. Sharon Reich reports.
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Athens launches into Christmas with an old tradition - the lighting of sparkling ship.
For decades in Greece, boats adorned with Christmas lights were the centerpiece of homes instead of Christmas trees.
For many, it will be a difficult Christmas this year in Greece due to the economic crisis that sparked job losses and wage cuts. Athens' mayor, George Kaminis, is more hopeful about 2014, now that the government is forecasting a surplus.
SOUNDBITE: Athens Mayor George Kaminis saying (English):
"We are full of hope, we are persuaded that we are going to have the first signs of recovery, during the first months of the year, so we remain optimistic, we remain joyful, and we are going to have a wonderful Christmas, at the same time supporting our citizens here; Greeks and foreigners, immigrants, whoever is in need."
Officials say the Christmas lighting in the square was done on a tight budget, far from the grandeur of the years before the financial crisis.
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