Continuing PTI’s countdown to Christmas 2018, today’s advent showcases one of the Port of Hamburg’s festive traditions.
The life of a seafarer means spending many weeks, and sometimes months, away from friends and family.
This is as true at Christmas as it is at any other part of the year. Considering shipping’s importance to the global economy and its role in helping presents travel all over the world, it seems cruelly ironic that those who make it possible are forced to spend this precious time away from home.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote graphically and powerfully about the reality of a 19th century seafarer at this time of year in his poem ‘Christmas at Sea’.
However, festive cheer can be found in one of Europe’s biggest shipping hubs in the shape of one of Christmas’ most enduring symbols – the Christmas tree.
Since 1997, Father Christmas has traveled through the Port of Hamburg on a chartered ship and handed out 50 Nordmann fir tree, with his Christmas wishes, to seafarers from all over the world.
As this video shows, he makes use of a Schmeissleine, a small vessel designed for traveling around ports and inland waterways, to throw the trees on board.
However hard it may be at sea, those seafarers who call at Hamburg can always rely on the enduring strength of the Christmas spirit.