Though most people typically associate sea theme with summer vacations, for Greeks it is a vastly more important subject. Sea is something that accompanies us throughout our lives, and seafaring has always been a way of life for many many men, providing food, new lands for settlements, connecting us and our ancestors with other cultures. No wonder that the most traditional Greek Christmas decoration is not a pine tree. Along with Christmas trees, Greeks decorate their houses with miniature boats and it is our way to pay our respects to the sea that continues to be the source of our livelihood and those who brave those still very much unpredictable waters. We beacon them from our homes with festive lights as if saying “Come home safely” from wherever they are. Sea never cease to fascinate us with its eternal beauty and mystery.
To understand the connection between Greeks and the sea one must start with Ancient Greek myths.
There is a whole plethora of sea (ocean) gods and creatures, like Oceanus, son of Uranos and Gaea, married to his sister, Tethys, with whom he had numerous children, called Oceanids.
Poseidon is the god of the sea, ill-tempered and unpredictable.
Aphrodite, the Olympian goddess of love, beauty, sexual pleasure, and fertility, was born near the coast of Cythera out of the foam (aphros) Uranus' castrated genitals created when they fell into the sea.
The most important and interesting mythological stories take place in the sea!
Perseus, one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology, was locked in a wooden chest with his mother, Danae, and thrown into the sea by his grandfather Acrisius in an attempt to escape the fate.
Odysseus got lost in there and wandered its waters for long ten years until he was able to return to his home island Ithaca.