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5 top Greek islands for the August holiday

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 delightful local festivals in the heart of summer.

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:

Tinos

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.

Paros 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 In the villages Markopoulo and Pastra on Kefalonia take place two very special phenomena, that some locals and tradition consider them to be miracles by Virgin Mary. In Markopoulo village, from August 6 through 15 little harmless snakes with cross-like signs on their foreheads appear in and out of the Dormition of Virgin Mary Church and are believed to bring good luck. In Pastra village on the other hand, the lilies that decorate the icon of Panagia Gravaliotissas bloom for the second time through the year. Because of these events and their importance for the local communities the celebrations and festivities that take place are grand.

Ikaria

The festivity that takes places at Christo Rachon on the island of Ikaria during 15th August holiday, has quite a reputation, mostly because of its ideal location and the continuous celebrations and fun. Most of the participants in this event are considered to be of quite a young age and it is the place where everyone can learn the moves of a traditional dance known as Ikariotikos.

Syros


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, Kimisi tis Theotokou (Assumption of Virgin Mary)

Orthodox church hosts an icon of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, one of the earliest masterpieces of painter El Greco (Dominikos Theotokopoulos).

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