On August 15th the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and many feasts are held throughout the whole country.
Wherever you may be on August15th, you will surely find a nearby church or monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary which will be celebrating the day.
Here are 10 feasts that promise that you are going to have great time:
- Lagada of Ikaria. It is the place to be as far as feasts are concerned. Ikaria is the king of feasts; many feasts are held throughout the year in the island. However, Lagada is a particular case, maybe because this place seems directly connected to the ancient god Dionysus! Thousands of people choose to dance the famous Ikariotikos under the big platanus trees.
- Kato Koufonisi. This place has almost no residents, thus even the fact that a feast is held there is an event. You will get to this island by small fishing boats from Ano Koufonisi. After the morning ceremony you will enjoy fresh fried fish and then you will return by the same boat which will race the others so as to return first. What follows is a typical feast of the Cyclades with lots of dancing.
- Amorgos. The biggest monastery of the island is Panagia Chozoviotisa but it celebrates on November 21st. However, the locals celebrate the day of August 15th in the Church of Panagia Epanohoriani in Lagada. You will enjoy the traditional delicacies of Amorgos, “patatato”, a dish of goat meat and potatoes and “psimeni raki”, an alcoholic beverage made of raki, honey, sugar and cinnamon.
- Santorini. Even if the island is overly crowded during this period, the feast that is organized there is great. You should go to the Church of Panagia Kalamiotisa in Akrotiri on August 14th, get drunk on the local wine and dance until morning.
- In Nisyros the celebrations start on August 6th, the day of the Metamorfosi Sotiros, another celebration of the Greek Church. Women dressed in black, called “eniameritises”, fast, pray, prepare “koliva”, a sweet food related to the Orthodox Church, and prepare the monastery of Panagia Spyliani. On August 15th people stop fasting and star the celebration with lots of food, wine and of course dance.
- Karpathos that is known for its special feasts, celebrates August 15th in the church of Panagia in Olympos. Girls and women wearing colorful traditional costumes gather in the churchyard where there is food and dance to the melodies of the traditional instruments of lyre, laouto and tsampouna.
- Astypalea. The feast of the church of Panagia Portaitisa offers a culinary experience. The celebrations start the previous night, while on August 15th you will taste a stuffed lamb according to the local recipe. You will also enjoy the folk dances of the island.
- Paros. Apart from Panagia of Tinos, another famous church of the Cyclades is Panagia Ekatontapiliani in Paros. The icon of Virgin Mary is carried in a procession through the alleys of Parikia, dozens of small boats set off fireworks over the port and then a traditional feast takes place, including traditional food (mezes), drinks (souma) and dances.
- Ithaca. In the Ionian Sea, the feast of Platrithia in Ithaca is the best one. Traditional songs will make you dance greek folk dances but waltz as well, all night long.
- In Siatista, close to the city of Kozani, takes place a procession with decorated horses to the monastery of Panagia in Mikrokastro, you will enjoy the food and the folk dances to the melodies of brass instruments for two consecutive days and nights. The mainland of Greece celebrates August 15th as well!