This is a small calendar of the most important festivals and holidays in Greece.
Being in Greece be careful that around these days shops, banks and other offices may be closed.
If you want to congratulate a friend with his/her name day look at the link on the right side of the blog page :
Holidays in Greece
January 1 st New Years Day (Protochronia) also known as the Feast of Agios Vasileios, after the church service, the exchanging of small gifts along worth music and dancing are part of the festivities.
January 6 th Epiphany (Theofania). This is an important feast day in the Greek calendar, when priests bless the waters around the country, at Pireaus, which has one of the largest festivals a priest throws a cross into the sea and youths dive in and recover the cross.
February Is the main month for carnivals, for three weeks before the start of Lent, carnivals are held throughout the mainland and islands, fancy dress, feasting and dancing, having a good time is the rule of the day. The town of Patra in the Peloponnese region has one of the largest and most enthusiastic celebrations.
Kathara Deftera (Shrove Monday), or Clean Monday is held seven Sundays before Easter, and is a time when families travel to the hills and fly kites and have picnics.
March 25 th Independence Day and Feast of Evangelismos, Independence Day is held in honour of the 1821 revolt against the Ottoman Empire, The Feast of Evangelismos, is one of the most important in the Orthodox religion, it is when the Archangel Gabriel announced the Virgin Mary was to become the mother of Jesus.
April (Easter) The Greek Orthodox Easter varies by three weeks either side of western Easter, and is the most important festival in the Greek calendar. They celebrate the resurrection rather than the crucifixion of Jesus. Many Greek families living abroad come home to take part in this celebration. The festival begins on the evening of Good Friday, with a candle lit parade through the streets to the local church, of a bier (perifora epitavios), representing the funeral bier of Christ. On Saturday night, a mass held in the local church, filled with worshippers, and at midnight the church is plunged into darkness, a single flame lights up and used to light all the candles carried by the churchgoers, and signifies the resurrection of Christ, it is very spiritual and emotional event. After the mass, fireworks and celebrations carry on throughout the night. One Easter Sunday a feast of grilled lamb and other local delicacies, and entertainment of traditional Greek music and dance conclude the fasting of Lent.
May 1 st. Protomagia (May Day), families travel to the countryside to have picnics and pick wild flowers that they make into garlands together with garlic and hang them on doors, boats and cars to ward of the evil eye.
June Navy Week takes part in early June, many ports and fishing villages around the country, celebrates the close connections the Greeks have with the sea.
August 15 th Koimisis tis Theotokou (Assumption of the Virgin Mary), a public holiday plus a celebrated religious festival, many Greeks travel home to their native villages.
October 28 th Ochi (No) Day a public holiday with military parades, it is held to commemorate the reply given by the Greeks to Mussolini when he demanded Greek surrender during WWII. The reply was a resounding No (Ochi).
December 25 th Though not as important as Easter to the Orthodox Church, it is still a celebrated religious festival.
Name days: many Greeks do not celebrate birthdays once they are over 12 years of age. They celebrate the name of the saint they received when they were baptised. Friends and family give small gifts are given small cakes and drinks in return.