The lure of traditional summer festivals

Every summer, festivals on the Greek islands and the mainland begin in late June and end on August 15 with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, like in Olympos on Karpathos (pictured). With feasts and dances celebrating customs and tradition, the festivals bring together locals and visitors, while there has also been a trend recently of young people returning to them. “The Aegean festivals are very numerous, since we are talking about 60 inhabited islands, with more than 10,000 churches and chapels.

As events they encapsulate more life and culture than any other social event. Church services, music, singing, dancing and feasting are integral elements of a ritual in which the whole community participates. Old and young, men, women and children take part in the feast to have fun, to rejoice, to revel and to experience unity and cohesion as members of a single community,” George Pittas, author of “The Festivals in the Aegean,” tells Kathimerini. [Periklis Merakos]


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