January 1st: Feast of St. Basil. This is associated with a good start for the new year. An old Byzantine custom of slicing the Vassilopita (Basilcake or New Year Cake) gives the person who finds the hidden coin in his slice, good luck for the year. On the island of Andros there are special New Years Celebrations. In the community of Plaki near Veria there is a reenactment of the old customs of Farasson in Cappadokia. In the Emborio Eordaias Community near Kozani the young men of the village turn out in local national costume dancing popular dances to the accompanyment of traditional musical instruments. At Polikastro, near Kilkis there are folkloric celebrations in fancy Dress.
January 6th Epifany is celebrated throughout Greece when the Blessing of the Waters takes place.A cross is thrown into the sea, lakes or rivers and retrieved by swimmers who are then entitled to good luck. The event is particularly spectacular in Pireaus. In Kozani the Lougatsaria or Karnavalia folkloric celebrations are held. Similar celebrations are held in Kastoria known as the Ragoutsiaria and go on until the 8th. This day is the name day for Foteni.
January 7th In the town of Katerini and in the quarter known as Katafigioton there is a revival of the old custom of Prodomition who were the forerunners of the national liberation when the country was still under Ottoman rule. Name Day for Yanis and Yana
January 8th The custom of female dominion or matriarchy is observed in the villages of Monoklissia and N. Petra in the region of Serres. On this day the women hang out in the cafeneons while the men stay home with the children and the chores. At nightfall they are allowed to join the women in celebration. This custom also takes place in the villages of Strimi and Xilagani in the Komotini region and at Nea Kasani near Xanthi. A similar celebration takes place in the village of Aspro near Kilkis for women. In the evening festivities only married couples may take part. January 17th is Saint Antonios day. The 18th is Saint Athanasios day. The 27th is Saint hrisostomos day.
In late Mid February Greece's Carnival Season called Apokrias, begins and lasts two weeks. It is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the festivities are particularly enjoyable in Naousa, Veria, Kozani, Zante, Skyros, Xanthi, Chios(in Mesta, Olimbi, Thymiana), Galaxidi, Thebes(where a mock shepards wedding is held), Poligyros, Lamia, Cephalonia, Messini, Soho, Serres, Agiasos in Lesvos, Karpathos, heraklion, Amfissa, Efxinoupolis(Volos), Agia Ana(Evia), Rethimnon and especially in Patras and Athens Plaka February 1st is St Tryphon's name day February 3rd is Symeon and Annis Day February 10th is the name day for Heraclia and Haralambos. February 14th is the day of Saint Valentina.
Clean Monday or Katheri Deftera 40 days before Easter, marks the first day of lent and it is customary to go out in the country and fly paper kites.
March 2nd is Saint Theodore day. March 19th is Hrysanthos Day. March 25th Independence Day
The Greek National Anniversary and a major religious holiday with military parades in the larger towns and cities.This celebrates Greece's victory in the war of Independence against the Turks who had occupied the country for 400 years. The 25th of March was actually the day Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of national rebellion at the monastery of Agia Lavra in the northern Peleponnesse. For Greece, the 25th of March is the equivalent to the 4th of July to Americans. The Greeks celebrate this day with marches and celebrations throughout the country. Consequently, the Akropolis and all other archaeological sites and all museums are closed on this day. You are supposed to eat fried bakaliaros (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce) today.
Check with your local Greek church for exact dates since it changes every year. On Good Friday the people of the towns and villages carry candles and follow the procession of the Epitaph. Saturday in Holy Week the ceremony of the ressurection takes place in the courtyard in front of all churches and bells are rung all over the towns and cities. Candles are lit one from the other and then the people make their way home for the traditional feast of dyed red Easter eggs and Magaritsa soup. Easter Sunday is the biggest church holidays in Greece. All over the country lambs are roasted on a spit and there is wine in abbundance. Red eggs are cracked against each other and the person with the last remaining uncracked eggs will have good luck. This is the most beautiful time to be in Greece if the weather is good. In Crete the village of Harakas Monofatsiou have a special Easter Sunday celebration in which they burn an effigy of Judas Iskariot. On the island of Creta you will find many villages who prepare for the bonfire effigy of Judas. Just take a trip through any rural area in the week leading up to Easter Sunday and enjoy the sight of men and women on their donkeys gathering sticks and branches in preparation for the effigy burning. Anastasia and Anastasios celebrate their name day on Easter.
April 8th In Karpathos in the traditional village of Olympos there is a celebration known as the Lambri Triti. At Limenaria in Thassos there is a feast with local dancing. In Megara near Athens local women in traditional outfits dance the fishermens Trata.
April 23rd Feast of Saint George is celebrated on Lemnos in the village of Kaliopi with horse races. In Arahova there is a three day non-stop feast. In Assi Gonia near Chania in Crete the religious celebration is folllowed by a sheep-shearing contest among the local shephards. In the village of Pili on the island of Kos there are horse races followed by song and dancing. Between the 22nd and 23rd a festival is held at the Monastery of Agios Georgios Peristereotas in the village of Rodochori where local Pontos dances are performed. April 15th is Leonidas name day. April 24th is Elizabeth's name day. April 25th is Saint Markos name day Saint Thomas name day is celebrated the Sunday after Easter.
In the month of May there is a folkloric festival at Elefsis near Athens. On the island of Lesvos the month of May holds the Week of Prose and Art with theatrical performances, exhibitions and various cultural and educational events in Molivos. In Trikala the Hatzipetria Festival which features athletic contests, national dances and lectures takes place around the end of the month. May 1st Labor day and the Feast of the Flowers. There is a general exodus to the country for picnics and the sky is filled with kites.
May 21st Celebration of the Unification of the Ionian Islands with the rest of Greece takes place on the island of Corfu. In Rethimnon they celebrate the anniversary of the battle of Crete. In Kasos there is a fiesta in Vrisi with local songs and dancing.
May 20th to 30th In Karditsa the Kariaskaki folkloric celebration with dancing, parades and pagentry honoring the lives of the guerillas who fought Ottoman rule.
May 21st-23rd The Anasternaria is the traditional fire walking which dates back to pagan times. Barefoot villagers of Agia Eleni near Seres and at Langada near Thessalonica, clasp icons of Saint Constantine and Saint Helen and dance upon charcoal embers without getting burned. May 21st is the celebration day of Saints Constantine and Elleni.
May 29th The Paleological Festival at Mistras is combined with a requiem mass in memory of Constantine Paleologos, the last of the Byzantine emperors.
Towards the end of June in the town of Agia Paraskevi in Lesvos is a 3 day Festival of the Bull with live music, celebration and horse races through the streets. In June in the village of Krousta in Crete is the Feast of the Klidona. At the end of June and early July, Navy Week is celebrated with entertainment in many of the ports of Greece. In Molivos and Kaloni in Lesvos the ouzo and sardines flow freely. June 2nd on Lesvos in the town of Kaloni is the festival of the Holy Trinity with horse races and wine. Early June in Florina is the Festival of Local Dances. In Alexandroupolis is the anual flower show, heldf the first ten days of the month. A Sunday is chosen between the 25th of June and the 15th of July for the Flowers and Cherry Blossom Dance at the village of Emporio in Kozani. The Miaoulis Festival, the last weekend in June on Hydra, a celebration of the great admiral Miaoulis, from the war for independence. There are different activities in the town like dance performances, speeches, brass bands etc. The big performance is on Saturday evening. There is a “water theatre” in the harbour where they show “the great sea battle” with the burning of a Turkish flagship. Afterwards there is a spectacular firework (and sometimes an unexpected grass fire). The Holi day of Agiou Pnevmatos (Holy Spirit) is a 3-Day weekend similar to Memorial Day in the USA. All the islands are full as are the ferries going there on Thursday and Friday and returning on Sunday-Monday-Tuesday. It is a moveble feast and which weekend it falls on depends on when Orthodox Easter was. It is the second biggest holiday of the summer after the Panagia Name Day in August. If you are traveling to the islands during this weekend make sure you have a hotel and ferry tickets. On the other hand this is a great time to be in Athens because it is empty. EUROPEAN MUSIC DAY: June 21st of June is no ordinary day. It’s the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. And it is also European Μusic Day. Music all over Greece for three days. Idf you are in Athens there will be live shows in every square in town.
In July the village of Rethimno in Crete has a wine festival while in mid July another wine festival is held in iraklio. Throughout July and August in Janena is the Eprirus Festival including Epirus authors, paintings, popular art, theatrical performances and dances by Greek and foreign troupes, thaetrical performances for children and concerts. In Nafpaktos is the Papaharalambia Festival of artistic, nautical and athletic events which lasts a week. In Preveza they hold the Nikololia Ancient Drama and folkloric performances. In Fillatria, near Kyparissia they hold the Vlahernia events during the first ten days of the month. These include theatrical performances, dance groups and so on. In Kalamata they hold traditional folk dances in the medieval castle for the entire month. In Corfu they have Cricket Week with visiting teams participating in matches on the only island where the sport is played regularly. In mid-July in Elefsis near Atrhens there is a folklore festival. At the end of July in Sitia on the island of Crete is the Sultana Raisin Festival. In July and August the Odeon of Herod Atticus Festival is held in the famous theatre next to the Acropolis with well known performers from all over the world. Also in July the Epidavros Festival of Greek Tragedies is held at the little theatre of Epidavros. The iraklio Festival is held from July through September and features some of Greece's most popular musicians as well as theatrical performances. The Patras Festival through September brings the best in Classical, Rock, Blues and theatre to the Ancient Odeon of this port city. July 7th: Agia Kiriaki with a festival in the village of Petri on the island of Lesvos. July 8th: Corfu: The village of Lefkimi has a festival which includes local dances. July 20th: The Panagiri day for the Prophetis Elias, usually held at the higgest church or monastery. 21-22nd of July: The beach village of Agia Markela on the island of Chios holds a religious festival with dancing. July 20th: In Santorini the village of Pirgo Kalistis has a big festival. July 22nd: In the village of Skopelos in Lesvos they celebrate the day of Saint Magdeleni. July 27th: In the village of Anaxos on Lesvos they celebrate Saint Pandelimos with live music.
During the first week of August the town of Kaloni in Lesvos holds its Sardine Festival with fish, ouzo, live music dancing and other events. Also in Lesvos during Mid August the Aegean Symposium is held in Molyvos with theatrical and other cultural events held in the castle overlooking the city. In Late August on the island of Zante the Aniversary of the island's Patron Saint Dionysious is held with dancing, drinking and fireworks. On the island of Skyros horse racing with the local breed of small ponies.
The jockeys wear special local costumes and the village maidens dressed as brides in traditional costume dance. Prose and Art Festival in Lefkas. The Olympus Festival in the village of Litohoro in Katerini includes various artistic events held in the old castle. In Naousa in Paros the Pirate Raid Pagentry is held. In Rethymnon Crete the Sultana Raisin Festival is held. In Early August in Zante they hold the International Meeting of Medieval and Popular Theatre. The first week of August in the village of Anogia, Crete a festival is held with hospitality offered to visitors. On the island of Kos the Hypocratia Festival is held which includes, musical, dramatic and artistic performances and Athletic contests. In Gythion in mid-August they hold a festival which includes ancient drama. August 6th is the Transfiguration of Christ and the name day for Sotiris. August 11th is the day that Saint Spiridonas appeared with a lighted torch and scared the Turkish invaders away from the island of Corfu. This day is celebrated as a holiday in Corfu. August 15th: The day of the Panagias (Virgin Mary)
This is the second biggest religious holiday after Easter and on the island of Tinos this day is celebrated like on no other. Pilgrims by the thousands come here to crawl on their knees up the steps to the church that holds the holy Icon. But this day is also celebrated in almost every town and village in Greece especially those with a church dedicated to the Panagia (Virgin Mary). That means on the days leading up to it every boat is full and in the islands every hotel is full so keep this in mind if you are traveling these dates. But in general booking a hotel on any island in August is difficult if you don't do it in advance. Agiasos in Lesvos, the second most Holy place in Greece, the pilgrims begin arriving weeks before the 15th and by the 10th of the month the town is alive with ceremony, both religious and social, live music etc. It's quite a party. Petra in Lesvos, similar to Agiassos but not as big. Stipsi in Lesvos celebrates for 9 consecutive days after the 15th. In Paros the Panagiri coincides with the local wine festival, always a good combination. Anwhere you go there will be a celebration at one church or another with dancing, food and services. Usually they go on until dawn. The best ones are held in the Monasteries like Profit Elias. August 30th is the name day for Saint Alexandros.
From the 1st to the 15th is the Anhiolos Wine Festival in Thessaloniki. Also in Thessaloniki in September is the International Trade Fair which includes the Song and Film Festival.
In Messolongi they hold the Lord Byron Poetry and Art festival. In Kos there is a 2 day wine Festival with song and dance. There are Grape festivals in Corinth, Pidni near Katerini, and a wine festival in the village of Ambelona near Larissa. Towards the end of September in Kythira is the festival of the Mirtidiotissa Monastery. In Santorini the International Music Festival in Thira features well known orchestras, conductors and performers of Classical music.
September 17th is the name day for Saint Sofia.
September 29th is the name day for Saint Kiriakos.
In Thessalonica the Demmetria Artistic and Cultural events. In Larissia the Eleftheria Festival of popular dances and theatrical performances. Around the 21st of the month is the Chestnut festival of Elos near Kissamos, Crete.
The 8th is the celebration of Saint Iganatios at the Limonas monastery in Kaloni, Lesvos The 21st is the name day for Socrates. The 26th is the name day for Saint Dimitris. The 28th is Ohi Day, celebrating the Greek refusal to let Italy occupy the country during WWII. The Italians invaded and were driven back into Albania and nearly back to Italy. There are military parades in the major towns and cities.
The 17th of November is the anniversary of the student uprising at the Polytechnic University in Athens in 1973. The demonstrations against the military dictatorship gained momentum and was crushed when tanks crashed the gates of the university killing many students.
The holiday is celebrated with the anual march and stoning of the American Embassy. If you have business at the Embassy it is a good idea to save it for another day. The first week of the month is the anniversary of the holocaust at the Arkadi Monastery in Rethymnon Crete. November 8th is the celebration day for Michael and Gabriel. November 14th is the name day for Philipos. November 21st is the name day for any Mary that is a virgin and children. November 30th is the name day for Saint Andreas.
In the beginning of the month the island of Corfu celebrates the memory of their Patron Saint Spiridon. On the 4th is Saint Barbara day a big day for the Military since Barbara is their Patron Saint.. The 5th is Saint Savas day. The 6th is Saint Nikolaos day. The 9th is Saint Anna day. The 13th is the name day for Saint Efstratios. The 17th is the name day for Dionisos of Zakynthos. On the 23rd in Kozani they commemorate the shepherds who lit the bonfires to announce the birth of Jesus Christ. Known as the Kladaries, the actual ceremony takes place in the village of Siatista where the locals light fires and dance around them while drinking the local festivals. The three best bonfires win prizes. The 24th is Christmas Eve and young children walk around singing carols on trains, buses and neighborhoods. 23rd and 24th in Florina they light fires in different quarters of the town and the inhabitants walk from fire to fire singing Christmas carols. The 25th is the name day for Christos. The 27th is the name day for Stefanos. 31st of December in Hios the island's seamen carry around 3 meter models of ships singing island songs. They end up at the central square and the four best models win a prize. New Years Eve is spent playing cards with friends on a green card table, while children sing carols and people exchange gifts
The members of WPANGV are:
Christos, Domaine Goumenissa
of the agricultural Co-Ops of Amynteon
Association of the agricultural Co-Ops of IOannina (zitsa
4. Dalamaras Winery (Naousa)
Domaine A. Babatzimopoulos (Agxialos)
Domaine Alfa (Amyndaio)
7. Domaine Carras (Sithonia
8. Domaine Chrissochoou (Naousa)
9. Domaine Founti (Naousa)
11. domaine glinabos (zitsa
12. Domaine Katsarou (Krania Larisas)
Domaine Pavlidi (Drama)
14. Domaine Tatsi (Goumenissa)
15. Domaine Technis Oinou Mikrochoriou (Drama)
domaine vivliA HORa (kokkinohori kavala)
Voyiatzi (Velvento Kozani)
18. Domaine Ligas (Giannitsa)
19. J. Boutaris & Son (Naousa - Goumenissa)
21. Kechris (Kalochori
22. Kir Yianni (Naousa)
23. Maronia (Rodopi)
24. Tsantalis (Papsani, Naousa, Agios Pavlos Chalkidiki)
25. Vaeni Naoussa..