Tinos: On the island of Megalochari from the beginning of August, thousands of prayers arrive for The Virgin. Pilgrims visit Her temple for supplications that are made every day until August 13, when the last great supplication is made. On the eve of the celebration, the island is decorated, while in the evening there is a Grand High Priestly Vespers followed by Prayer and Divine Liturgy. On the morning of the 15th of August, a High Priestly Liturgy is held, during which the representative of the government and the head of the Navy with other officials lay wreaths on the wet grave of the “Elli” which was torpedoed outside the port of Tinos on August 15, 1940. After the end of the Liturgy there is a litany. On the day of the fifteenth of August, there are not a few who, fulfilling their wish, climb the steps of the Church of Megalohari on their knees.
Paros: Whether you find yourself in Parikia or Naoussa, one thing is certain, you will experience unforgettable moments! In Parikia, the faithful gather at the early Christian church of Ekatontapiliani (or “Katapoliani”) and worship the 17th century icon. After the Divine Liturgy follows the great parade and the icon is carried around through the streets. In the evening, the boats are lit up and flares are thrown, while you can then enjoy traditional music, wine, and snacks. In Naoussa, the boats arrive at the harbor and at night the faithful keep lit torches, while the festival until morning is enjoyable with the unique island dances.
Koufonissia: What could be better than combining holidays on the island with the celebration of August 15th! Residents and visitors arrive by boat to the church of Panagia in Kato Koufonissi, while on the way back the boats compete to see who will reach Pano Koufonissi first. This is followed by a spree with music, dancing, and seafood delicacies.
Siatista: In this area of Kozani, the custom of horse-riding pilgrims prevails since the years of Turkish rule. On the fifteenth of August, the horsemen mount their decorated horses and head towards the monastery of Panagia of Mikrokastro, just outside of Siatista. At the end of the liturgy and after worshiping the icon, they return on horseback to the center of the town, where a special festival with dances and songs follows in the squares.
Veria: At Panagia Sumela, the Panagia of Pontia which is a landmark for Greece and Christianity, thousands of believers arrive to worship the icon of the Virgin Mary, the work of the Evangelist Luke, the Cross of the emperor Emmanuel Κomnenοs and the holy gospel of the priest Christophoros, gift of the emperor David Komnenos.
Kefalonia: You will live a special experience in the princess of the Ionian Sea, where the fifteenth of August is celebrated brilliantly. The harmless snakes with the cross-shaped head that appear every year on the fifteenth of August in Panagia Fidoussa (in the dome of the Holy Church of Panagia Lagouvarda), in Markopoulo, Kefalonia, bring luck both to the island and to the believers who touch them. Also, at Panagia Gravaliotissa, in the village of Pastra, you will encounter a unique miracle since the lilies that are placed on Her icon bloom twice a year. surrounds it, you will find yourself in the archaeological site of Dymokastro.
Patmos: The island of Apocalypse with its overwhelming atmosphere will offer you a unique experience. The monks from the historic monastery carry the epitaph of the Virgin Mary through the streets of the island and the faithful follow the procession, a custom with Byzantine origins.
Astypalaia: It is worth visiting the “Butterfly of the Aegean”, this special island (“Astypalia” or “Astropalia”, according to the locals) even the Fifteenth of August, to celebrate the Virgin Mary Portaitissa, below the Castle, in Chora. On the eve, after Vespers, a unique feast follows. On August 15th, the “Table of Love” is held, where visitors taste the local dish “Labriano” (goat with potatoes, tomato, red pepper, and cheese).
Nisyros: The island with the volcano and the wild beauty honors the Virgin Mary with “Niamero” (nine days) which is celebrated from August 6. The Enniameritisses, women dressed in black, go to the monastery of Panagia Spiliani, where they stay for 9 days doing strict fasting and 300 penances a day. On August 15th, the procession of the icon takes place, which is driven to the village, and the festival begins with the local “koupa” dance.
Karpathos: The picturesque village of Olympos (or “Elymbos”, according to the locals), one of the most beautiful and unique villages of the Dodecanese, celebrates in a special way. You will feel intense excitement during the August 15 Liturgy at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Olympos, Karpathos. On the same day, the custom of the Kato Chorus is revived, during which women in traditional costumes begin the slow dance, accompanied by lute and lyre, while the men have a piece of basil in their lapels and sing in a soulful mood.
Leonidio: In this maritime state of the Peloponnese, August 15th is celebrated uniquely. In the monastery of Elona (the patronymic of the Virgin Mary “Elona” from the Tsakonian dialect means “merciful”), which is located on a steep rock, visitors face a unique sight. Many believers pay their respects to Panagia Vrefokratoussa (who holds the Infant) by kneeling or walking to the monastery.
12. Pyrgi of Chios
Pyrgi of Chios: In the famous Masticho-villages of Chios, Pyrgi is the one that celebrates with a special festival in the village square. The fast-paced “Pyrgousikos” dance will not leave you unmoved but will drag you into the party.
Ikaria: We couldn’t leave out the queen of the Greek feast. The festivals of Ikaria are famous throughout Greece, one of which also takes place on the fifteenth of August. In Gialiskari there is a great spree, where everyone dances the famous Ikariotiko dance!
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