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Healing and Cleansing in Kos

The Mariner Creative Team's avatar By The Mariner Creative Team | 23 Jan 2018
wreath floating at Kos, Greek Island cultural fest

The third-largest of the Dodecanese islands, Kos was home to Hippocrates, whose teachings have had an impact all over the world. Known as the ‘Father of Medicine’, Hippocrates was born in Kos in 460 BC and is credited with having established the profession of medicine in the form in which it continues to be practised today.

After traveling widely, and observing healing and medical practices in various lands, Hippocrates returned to Kos and established his own medical school, where he was known for his innovative methods. Widely sought-after throughout Greece, his humanitarian approach of ‘either aid or do no harm’ formed the heart of his famous medical text, known as the Hippocratic Oath. Today, physicians all over the world still take the oath, agreeing to uphold specific ethical standards including medical confidentiality and to ‘do no harm’.

Visiting the town centre of Kos, visitors will spot a large plane tree, in the location where Hippocrates was said to have sat to teach his students. The tree is around 500 years old, and reported to be the largest of its kind in Europe. It is said to be a descendant of the tree under which Hippocrates once sat, more than two thousand years ago.

Kos may be the home of modern medicine, but it has also retained some beautiful and symbolic traditions which are still observed today. One such custom is ‘Klydon’, in which women undertake a ritual which symbolises cleansing and welcoming in the new year.

Held in early September, the practice involves discarding an old wreath into the sea, and placing a new wreath into the water to be washed by forty waves. After this, the wreath is carried to the Hippocrates plane tree, where the tree’s trunk is touched for strength and energy. The wreath is then hung in the home for good luck throughout the year.

The 2018 Aegean Yacht Rally runs from 12th to 26th May, starting on the island of Samos and finishing in Marmaris. For more information visit 2018 The Aegean Rally here.