Greece has several festivales that have been known from the ancient time. Today, the Festivals in Greece have a religious core and are in agreement with the Orthodox calendar. The Orthodox calendar is similar to the Catholic calendar except for Easter. Festivals are usually organized by the local communities of Greek Orthodox Churches. Each church is devoted to a particular saint and that saint’s name day is usually celebrated with a Panagiri (festival), and a religious service. On that day, people with the same name as the saint celebrate their name day in the same way as we celebrate our birthdays.
A number of volunteers are involved in the organizing of a festival, cooking local Greek food using recipes that have their origin to their grand-grand parents. The food is shared with the community on big tables. Traditional folk tunes a played by musicians and dancing plays a big role, festivals often are continued until the next morning.
When you go to a village ask one of the locals when the panagiri for a particular church is and if it happens to be during your stay, join in the celebration, you are welcome!
Major Festivals on Amorgos
January 6: Blessing of the sea – Ports of Katapola and Aegiali
March 25: Annuciation – Parades in Chora, Langada and Katapola
Easter period: Epitapheion, a celebration to cap the period of lent (Apochrias) takes place on Holy Friday night (seen Bradley’s comment below), on Easter Sunday the icon of Virgin Mary of Hozoviotissa Monastery is taken to Hora. St. John’s image, the Balsamite also becomes part of the procession. On Easter Monday they are taken to the chapel of Agios Profitis Ilias. The following week they are carried to all the churches on the island of Amorgos. Pentecost or Whitsunday is celebrated as usual seven weeks after Easter.
Read more about Easter time in Greece.
May 8: Monastery of Theologos
Sixth Thursday after Easter: Analisis, Potamaos
July 1: This day witnesses one of the greatest feast of Amorgos called the Angii Anargiri, Tholarai
July 26: On this day the religious feast of St. Paraskevi, Paradisia is celebrated with local music and dancing.
August 6: This day witnesses one of the greatest feasts at Amorgos village and is called Christ’s Metamorphosis. It is celebrated with wine and live performances.
August 15: Panagia, Langada
September 14: This day is famous for the festival of Stavros at Aegiali.
September 26: Monastery of Theologos
November 21: This day is marked as the anniversary of the Virgin Mary Hozoviotissa Monastery. A local feast is scheduled and the visitors are offered fish and wine.
Photos by Carlos Sargedas
Greece Public Holidays
|New Year’s Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Epiphany||6 Jan||6 Jan|
|Clean Monday||7 Mar||27 Feb|
|Independence Day||25 Mar||25 Mar|
|Good Friday||22 Apr||6 Apr|
|Easter Sunday||24 Apr||8 Apr|
|Easter Monday||25 Apr||9 Apr|
|Labour Day||1 May||1 May|
|Assumption of the Virgin Mary||15 Aug||15 Aug|
|Finding of the True Cross||14 Sep||14 Sep|
|National Flag Day||27 Oct||27 Oct|
|Ochi Day||28 Oct||28 Oct|
|Cretan National Day||8 Nov||8 Nov|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|St Stephen’s Day||26 Dec||26 Dec|
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Wendula, well done! The people of Amorgos are so welcoming that being present for one of these festivals is an experience to remember with pleasure for many years! May I add this suggestion? The Epitapheion, the somber celebration on the night of Holy Friday (Good Friday in the West), is one of the loveliest and most moving. A decorated bier representing Christ’s body is carried through each village from its church. The devout of the village fall in behind and proceed through the village. Outsiders and non-Orthodox are welcome, and photographs are okay if they do not disrupt. Our favorite place to observe is from the terrace at Niko’s taverna in Langada – the procession goes right by the door and Niko often lights torches by the door. The serious nature of this “festival” really caps the period of Lent (Apochrias – “time away from meat”) and is both a religious and psychological counterpoint to the celebration the next night at midnight when the Resurrection is proclaimed and Easter begins.
Actually the Epitapheios (at Megali Paraskeyi – Great Friday actually in Greek:) can be one of the most moving moments for the Greek Orthodox church, since it is actually a reenactement of the buring of the body of Christ. Faithful or not, memories from your loved ones, not still alive, are not difficult to move you.
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