Festivals in Greece - Greek Events

Greek Festivals

Greece has many festivals (Panagiri) throughout the year and most of the Greek Festivals have a religious basis. The Festivals are usually celebrated in accordance with the Greek Orthodox calendar which is similar the Catholic calendar, with the exception of Easter. There are also many cultural festivals with theatrical and musical celebrations during the summer as well as National Festivals celebrating Greek victories. There are far too many festivals to mention them all but below is a list of some important Festivals.

Religious Festivals

January 1: New Year’s Day

The feast of Ayios Vassillios or Saint Basil is celebrated with a church service. On this day children are given gifts.

January 6: Epiphany

The feast of Fota celebrates the banishing of hobgoblins into the netherworld. This is done by a priest who blesses the waters (seas, rivers and lakes).

March 25:Feast of Annunciation

A Celebration of the angel Gabriel, telling Mary about the incarnation of Christ.

April to May: Easter

Easter is the most celebrated of all the festivals in Greece. All the radio and TV networks are taken over and filled with beautiful religious programs during this time. It is a wonderful time to be in Greece because every village celebrates Easter with joy and sumptuous meals. On Good Friday the villagers carry candles and follow in a procession of the Epitaph. On Saturday there is a ceremony to remember the resurrection of Christ and the streets throng with people carrying candles, making their way home for the traditional feast and the breaking of the fast. The feast consists of red Easter eggs and Mayervtsa soup. Easter Sunday is the biggest church holiday in Greece and enjoyed with the traditional lamb roasted on a spit, washed down with gallons of red wine.

December 25: Christmas

A Celebration of the birth of Christ. The Greeks enjoy musical festivals as well as shopping festivals over Christmas. The children traditionally sing carols and go from door to door asking for money.

National Festivals – Greek Victories

March 12: Greek Independence

This day is celebrated all over Greece as the start of the Greek revolt against the Turkish rule in 1821.

May 1: Labor Day

An urban holiday celebrated by flower picking and picnicking in the countryside.

October 28: National Anniversary

This is the Greek Independence Day celebrated by military parades and folk dances. This is also OXI Day which is the day general Metaxa’s famously said Oxi or No to the Italians demand for occupation during World War II.

November 17: Student Uprising

The day the students rose up against Junta in 1974. Many students lost their lives on that day as they stood firm against the military dictatorship. It is celebrated with marches and the stoning of the American Embassy.

Cultural Festivals

June – July: Athens Festival (tell: + 30 210 928 2900)

This festival features famous Greek and foreign artists who perform a mixture of symphony orchestras, classical drama and dance at the Herodeion (amphitheatre – the Odeon of Herodes Atticus)

June – August: Epidaurus Festival (Tell: + 30 210 327 2000)

During summer on a Friday and Saturday night you will be able to experience the most passionate and expressive Greek drama’s which is held at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. The dramas performed are a re-creation of ancient Greek classics and the Theatre is well known for its beauty and acoustic quality.

July: ‘Musical July’ (+30 210 331 0392)

This is the little Epidaurus theatre and has gained popularity over the last 10 years. It hosts events every July which range from Greek folk songs to art and a variety of theatre performances.

Dates could vary from year to year. For exact dates of these festivals see:
http://www.greekfestival.gr/site/events/program_en.php

For details of all festival in Greece contact the Greek Tourist board.

Information desk: +30 210 3310392/716/347

Working hours: Monday – Friday: 09.00 – 18.00

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 11.00 – 16.00

Email: info_desk@gnto.gr

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