The donkeys of the Saronic Gulf
The donkeys have a special place in the Greek islands and of course in the islands of the Saronic Gulf. They are an everyday, picturesque image, inextricably linked to the Greek island Greece of summer. However, the donkeys of the Saronic Gulf and the other animals used by the inhabitants are not there just to transport tourists from one place to another.
Everyday life with donkeys
In Hydra, for example, we see something like this. Because there are no vehicles on the island, donkeys, mules and horses are recruited for daily transport. The islands owe much of their picturesqueness to them, as they are everywhere and move everything. From food products, building materials, shopping and shop and home equipment to locals and foreign visitors for their daily travels. They transport people to churches, monasteries and festivals. They plow the fields to plant cereals, and can even carry rubbish from areas that do not pass garbage trucks.
Cute animals have their names and can be found everywhere as they pass everywhere. Through narrow alleys and cobbled streets, squares and ports, steep hills and remote beaches. There is no road or path that the donkeys of the Saronic Gulf can not cross. We will see them even on inaccessible paths with a final destination some distant beach or a chapel in the middle of nowhere.
They do not understand from bad weather, rain and wind. They are ready for even the most difficult paths. The conductors are their bosses. One of the oldest professions found even today in the Greek islands.
Contrary to many people's beliefs, donkeys are well-behaved and enjoy daily care. We can see this if we observe them a little more carefully. After all, there is no other option. Their offer is valuable in small island societies, as they secure the income of their bosses. For them, donkeys are a family and a part of society. The economic development of these islands and the maintenance of traditional settlements did not take place without their contribution.
There are around 400 animals on each island that correspond to a fairly large number of families who use them for livelihood. Other families are free to use them for their own purposes.
Finally, in Hydra, where donkeys are more present than anywhere else in the Saronic Gulf, they have their own celebration. This is their Holy Protector, Saint Mama, who is honored every year on September 2.