• by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 05 February 2015
White Nights

Saturday night’s White Night (Leuki Nuxta) was a social/cultural experiment in the city. Stores in the centre (Ermou St. and surrounding areas) stayed open until 11:00 pm. There were performers and musicians, there were balloons, and there were people everywhere. Crowds and crowds of people…

It was fantastic! The feeling in the air was, quite simply, happy.  It felt like Christmas, it looked like Christmas, it was the feeling of years gone by, when ‘crisis’ wasn’t the word of the day…

And let’s be clear, it wasn’t all about shopping or spending money (although it seems plenty did!). It was about being out with family and friends, going for a walk, checking out the windows, stopping for a bite to eat. Ok, this tends to happen a lot in Athens, but somehow Saturday night had a special quality about it…
The White Night also served to top-up some of the cash registers of the local businesses, just in time for Christmas. People are longing for crisis to be on the way out, and perhaps even the appearance of shopping at Christmas convinces us – for a brief moment - that this is true.

Judging by the subsequent news reports, the commentaries and the comments of people who were there, the White Night was a huge success. And not for the shops alone. People really enjoyed the undeniable electricity in the air.  
The experience of that event has also apparently re-ignited the debate about Sunday shopping. It seems obvious now that the majority of Athenians actually enjoy being out and about and browsing the shops on Sundays, in between coffee stops (was that ever in question?!). Maybe the city will figure out rules for Sunday wages, and this thing can be settled for good.
Regardless, the ‘Leuki Nuxta ‘was really enjoyable. Not because I bought something (I didn’t), but more because of the great vibe and feeling in the crowd. It was a happy night in Athens!
Maybe the City of Athens will schedule something similar, say in June…?
With my very best wishes to all for a better and brighter 2014!
Until next week,

In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…