High season travelers, in case you are on sailing holidays in the Greek islands during mid-August, you have the chance get a spiritual taste of your destinations while taking part in the most thrilling local festivals in the heart of summer. Delight while spending some interesting time getting the local vibe, trying local food and drinks, learning how to make the most out of your destination according to local tips and (why not?) making new friends.
The 15th of August is a public holiday and considered to be one of Christianity’s most important days, the Dormition of Virgin Mary, with thousands of people joining religious services and taking part in local festivals. These are the top islands to sail for the 15th August holiday in Greece:
The island is the center of the annual pilgrimage of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, that takes place at the Panagia Evangelistria church, featuring a miraculous icon of Virgin Mary that was discovered in 1823. Also known as “The feast of Megalochari “, it is one of the most known and active festivities in Greece, attended by thousands of Christians all over the world.
The festivities for the Dormition of the Virgin Mary hold throughout the day. Inside the Church, vespers and eulogy are chanted, whereas in the evening the Litany of the Holy Icon and the Epitaph fill the streets of Paroikia with warm feelings and religious emotion.
In the night, spectacular fireworks light up the sky, while locals from little fishing boats hold red smoky signal flares colouring the atmosphere with religious mystique. The ferryboats blow their horns in ecstatic joy, and dancers colorfully dressed in their traditional costumes whirl to the tunes of Greek folk music.
Kefalonia, Ionian islands
In the villages Markopoulo and Pastra take place two very special phenomena, that are traditionally considered as miracles of Virgin Mary: In Markopoulo village, from August 6 to 15, little harmless snakes with cross-like signs on their foreheads appear around the village church and are believed to bring good luck. In Pastra village , the lilies that decorate the icon of Virgin Mary bloom for the second time through the year. These annual events are very important to the local communities, and are celebrated with splendour and gladness.
Ikaria, Aegean Islands
The festivity that takes places at Christo Rachon in Ikaria during 15th August holiday, has quite a reputation, mostly because of its ideal location and the endless celebrations and fun. Most of the participants in this event are considered to be of quite a young age and is the perfect chance to learn the moves of the traditional circle dance known as Ikariotikos.
In Syros, churches seem to be nearly as abundant as bars are in Mykonos! Strolling around the narrow alleys of beautiful Syros, visitors can admire many fine Catholic and Orthodox churches. Located close to the main harbor, the church Kimisi tis Theotokou (Assumption of Virgin Mary) hosts an icon of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, one of the earliest works of art by El Greco (Dominikos Theotokopoulos).