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Local Events - Festivities
Of course, every place in Greece has its own traditions (rich or not), the festivals, and all kinds of events that survive through the centuries till today, or revive through the initiative of associations or other entities and individuals.
In Kythera and Antikythera the local festivals, fairs and events are numerous and impressive. If we start from the first month of the year, in January. Very characteristic is the dive of the Holy Cross on the
Day of Theophany
(Epiphany). The special feature is that the same ceremony and the diving of the believers in the cold sea is done in four different places. In Kapsali in the presence of all the political and military authorities of the island, in Agia Pelagia with the same presence and less formal, and smaller crowds in Avlemona and in Dhiakofti.
, the feast day of St. Haralambos, is celebrated by the beautiful village of Karava, where people gather, even from the Attica basin. In the church of Agios Haralambos, the visitor can admire the beautiful marble iconostasis and two large central chandeliers which were donations from rich Karava residents who brought them from Russia.
, the National Day is organized by the City with events in Potamo and Doxology in the City, school parade, placing of the wreath, traditional dances, and all the sounds provided by the Philarmonic Band of Kythira, whose members volunteer their services.
Usually in early March falls the long
weekend of Tirinis and Shrove Monday
. The carnival is organized in Potamo with the parade floats and masqueraders, in Livadi there are a variety of events, while in the city and in Potamo the traditional Maypole attracts young and old alike. After the carnival parade in Potamo, the local businesses and the local Cultural Association offer attendees fresh grilled souvlaki, wine, and other delicacies. On Shrove Monday Kytherians in masses celebrate Koulouma in Agia Pelagia and in Avlemona, while less groups choose to celebrate the day on the beaches of Lykodemou, St. Nicholas, Komponada, Kapsali and elsewhere.
In the period of Lent it is worth watching The Greetings in an old small church in one of the villages on the island or to experience the nightly atmosphere of The Devout Following in the Monastery of Our Lady Mirtidiotissa.
The Divine Liturgy is followed in Agia Moni, where after dismissal, nicely weaved fresh palm leaves in various shapes such as horses, crosses, rombuses etc. are handed out as little souvenirs.
, devout followings are committed which honor Panagia Myrtidiotissa, in Agia Elesa and in many other churches on the island. You should not miss the procession of the Epitaph in the City, which passes through picturesque alleys of the capital which are lit with improvised torches which reach the enetian castle. The procession of the Epitaph in the picturesque Avlemona is also very nice. The Resurrection is impressive in the City. It is performed outside of the Church of the Crucified Christ (Metropolitan) to a massive crowd and the sky is illuminated by spectacular fireworks. If you want to stay after the Liturgy that lasts until 02.00 in the morning, you will definitely enjoy the beautiful psalms, the handing out of the red eggs and the joyous atmosphere.
Worth special mention is the arrival of the Holy Fire, which in recent years in Kythera, there is a special flight of military aircraft coming from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Saturday night.
The Mayor of the island brings the Holy Light to the local airport. At the Kythira Airport he is welcomed by the local Metropolitan with his entourage of priests, by military and police authorities, by the Municipal Council and by crowds. It is a unique experience which shouldn't be missed.
If Saint George is celebrated after Easter, do not miss the evening and the party that follows in the old chapel of St. George in the "Mountain" over Avlemona. From there you will see nearly 1/3 of Kythera and gaze Antikythera, Crete and the Cape Malea. It is an unforgettable experience.
An especially important event for Kythera is the so called "Gira" (procession, litany) of the icon of Our Lady Myrtidiotissa which starts on Easter Monday afternoon from the church of the Crucified Christ in the city and visits almost all villages of Kythira
. The procession on foot is extremely impressive. After 15 days the icon is returned to its place at the Monastery of Myrtidion. The survival of a very old custom in our days is remarkable and a rare find for someone to encounter among the traditions at other islands.
a big festival is celebrated in the Monastery of St. Theodore (Patron of Kythira) with bright Vespers, Divine Liturgy and Litany of the Saints' Relic Scull. The church is Byzantine and worthy of attention.
, an impressive feast (local) is organized in the City, because it is the anniversary of the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece. If you find yourself in Kythera, watch and enjoy the local dances in the square of the city with children from primary schools, secondary schools and high schools dressed traditionally.
an important festival of the Holy Spirit is celebrated in the Holy Trinity Church in Friligkianika and in the Holy Trinity Church in Logothetianika with holy bread and treats handed out after the Liturgy in the squares in front of the two churches.
Arriving in July it is worth celebrating the feast Day of Saints Anargiron (July 1), both the Vespers and the Liturgy of Agios Kosmas in Xeroulaki (good cement road), in a small private monastery. After the services sweets, soft drinks and other local homemade delicacies are offered. The calm and serenity of the area is unparalleled.
visit Agia Marina in Stavli, a beautiful rural area in the northern part of the island, a bit out from Potamo. You will not regret it. But on July 20, The Day of Prophet Elia, the village celebrates in the old Byzantine church with unique architecture and the roof has a watchtower for the guard (Viglatoras) to see pirate ships in earlier times. On July 23 Saint Pelagia is celebrated in the village with the same name with a remarkable festival, procession, folk dancing, bazaar, sweets and a very pleasant atmosphere. Live, past times which are forgotten elsewhere. On July 26 Saint Paraskevi is celebrated in Logothetianika, and on the 27th St. Panteleimon, be sure not to miss Liturgy in the 7th century Byzantine church of the same name in Paleopoli. The church is surrounded by olive trees and after the Divine Liturgy taste the sweets of Mr. Dimitris and Mrs.Kiriakis who have an old country farmhouse near the church.
Agia Elesa is clebrated. The monastery is in the Agia Elesa mountains with spectacular views of the Cretan and Mediteranean Sea. Worship in the place of the martyrdom of the Saint and walk along the rocky area around the monastery. You can take pictures after vespers at sunset. It is unique and unforgettable. On August 6 (Transfiguration of The Lord), visit Agia Moni for the solemn liturgy. Enjoy the view of Diakofti and Parnona peninsula from the eastern Peloponnese,. On August 15, nearly everybody from Kythira is in Panagia Myrtidiotissa. After the liturgy there is very nice procession with the philharmonic, with the local authorities and all the people follow.
, mainly during Vespers, the eve of, do not forget to go straight to Saint Mamanta (Agio Mama by the locals) in the gully of Petrounia. Ask locals how to get there, but not if you have a low car. Idyllic landscape, the church is simple and plain, with a warm atmosphere. There are celebrations late at night after Vespers, usually with live traditional music.
the Crucified Christ is celebrated in the city and on
Agios Nikitas in Kalamos. It's worth seeing the Byzantine church of Agios Nikitas. It is a few meters south of the later church.
, follow Vespers and Liturgy in the church of Agia Sophia in an impressive cave of Kalamos. It's a Memorable experience. It's worth a lot.
the Virgin Myrtidiotissa is celebrated again and is very reminiscent of the festival on August 15th.
, the National Day of OHI is celebrated with great pride In Potamo and in the city.
, visit the festival at the church of Agios Minas in Dhiakofti or Agios Minas in Logothetianika with the beautiful high spire which was built in 1926 with limestone.
Christmas, December 25th
, is celebrated with great joy in the city and in all the churches of Kythera.
So the visitor finds that religious, but not only, feasts of Kythira are many and impressive, and in whatever season someone finds themselves in Kythera, they will always experience the genuine atmosphere of the local festivals and will feel that little by little that Greece is slowly lost from the "evolution" but actually survives spontaneously rather than artificially in this island.
Apart from the traditional religious festivals, the local carnival, local and national anniversaries, there are plenty of other events that are organized, either by local Improvement Societies, or by the municipality of Kythira.
Here we list the most important festivals which are more interesting, because they cover the summer months and typically have fixed dates, and have been established for many decades.
Starting from July we commemorate the traditional music and dance evening in Katsoulianika (Logothetianika) which is usually July 23 or 24. The local folk orchestra plays music and the celebrations last until the morning.
, the big dance is organized at the port of Avlemona. Dances, cheer, songs, food, beside the sea, in a truly picturesque setting.
August 9 or 10
the great traditional wine festival is organized in Mitata with dancing and fun until dawn.
, the big dance at Potamo leaves unforgettable memories to every visitor.
usually a lot of people gather for the dance of “the Orange Tree” in Karava at the old elementary school, who enjoy the night till the morning.
August 21 or 22
it is worth seeing the farming exposition in Fratsia and the beautiful folk festival with dancing and singing in the biggest square of Kythira.
, the day of Agios Nikitas, a beautiful dance is held in Kalamos, in the courtyard of a traditional building of the former elementary school.
September 23 or 24
the cycle of folk dance and music festivals is completed with the dance in Agia Pelagia, which takes up the entire length of the coastal road.
Of course for those who visit
Antikythera on 16 and 17 August
they will be impressed by the folk music and dance festival in Agios Myron, in the night and the day of the feast of the Saint, following the Liturgy.
Of course, the festivals mentioned are not the summary of all those one can meet in Kythera. Most Saturday nights in Winter, Spring and Autumn, the many restaurants offer live folk and traditional music, song and dance with lots of fun. If you find yourself out in the evening, you will enjoy yourself.
The other political-regulatory events, of the municipality and other stakeholders are discussed elsewhere.
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