CRETE (Island) GREECE
In Crete, you will come across opportunities to enjoy yourself by taking part in a Cretan "glenti", or merry-making, almost every day. In the villages, above all, traditional Cretan weddings will give you a chance to hear authentic folk music, follow Cretan dances, drink Cretan wine, and eat tidbits of Cretan meat. The feast-days of churches and monasteries are occasions for merry-making, spring, summer and autumn. A brief calendar of feast days and educational and recreational events, though it is a list that grows longer every year, will give you some idea of the possibilities:
February: The feast of Haghios Charalambos is celbrated with dances, food and drink at Crousona.
March: Carnival time, with festivities all over the island, particularly in the big towns.
Shrove Monday: the first day of Lent, celebrated in the countryside with dances, music and Lenten food (particularly seafood and a special unleavened bread, "lagana", eaten only on this day) and plenty of wine.
March 25: A national holiday, in honour of the Day of Independence and the Feast of the Annunciation. In Apocorona, Chania, a festival is held on Lady Day.
Easter: Religious celebrations take place all over Crete, throughout Holy Week. On Easter Sunday and Monday, everyone feasts on roast lamb and drinks lots of wine. Characas, Monofatsi, is particularly noted for its Easter celebrations. In the second and third day after Easter, an orange festival is held in Skines, Kidonia, Chania, with dances and songs.
April: The Feast-day of St. George, April 23, is a sheep shearing festival. Milk, wine and food are served in the village Haghios Georgios on the plateau of Lassithi. Milk and cheese feast in Assi Gonia, Chania.
When Easter Sunday falls early, the orange festival of Skines is held on the fifth and sixth of May.
May: On May Day, Cretans flock to the countryside to gather wild flowers for May-Day wreaths and to feast.
May 21: A festival, with dancing and singing, is held in Arcalochori, Heracleion. Throughout the week of May 21, celebrations are organized in the honour of the glorious Battle of Crete, particularly in Rethymno, Heracleion and Chania. The festivities include athletic games, dancing in public squares, exhibitions of historical documents from the war, speeches, plays, concerts and religious ceremonies.
June: The village of Piskokephalo, near Crousta, Lassithi, holds a festival.
July 9: A wine festival is organized in Rethymnon, with much merry-making and plenty of free wine.
July 17: The feast-day of St. Marina, celebrated in the village of Voni with dances and feasting. Towards the end of the month, the village of Daphnes, Heracleion, holds a wine festival.
July 26: The feast-day of St. Paraskevi is celbrated in Scoteinos Cave, near Gouves.
August: This is the month of most festivals in Crete. During the first two weeks, Sitia holds a sultana-grape festival, accompanied by many festivities while Anogeia organizes a festival, which includes exhibitions of popular crafts, folk dancing and folk music competitions, a traditional Cretan wedding, concerts and athletic events. Visitors are invited to join in. Religious celebrations are held in Arcalochori, Archanes, Alagni and Haghios Myron, Heracleion. In the village of Critsa, Lassithi, foreigners can be guests at a traditional wedding, in which all the folk customs are observed.
August 15: The Feast of the Assumption is a major feast day all over Crete, in monasteries, convents and churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The most important festivities are held in Neapolis, Lassithi, in Mochos, Paliani, Cardhiotissa and Hodhigitria.
During summer three months (July, August and September) of educational and recreational events are organized by the city of Heracleion. Concerts of classical and folk music, plays, ballets, operas and exhibitions of paintings and photographs are among the attractions that draw artists and intellectuals from all over Greece.
September: The vintage month of wine and raki. In many villages, festivals are held to celebrate the coming of autumn. In Pombia, Heracleion, a festival is organized in honour of the great Cretan hero, Michalis Corakas.
October: A chestnut festival is held at Elos, Kissamos, on October 21.
November: Celebrations in Rethymnon and at the Monastery of Arcadi in memory of the epic events that culminate in the holocaust of 1866.
December: The holy Days are observed according to age-old traditions, especially in the villages. In Cretan towns, carols are sung on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and the feasting starts at midnight. Churches hold services in honour of birth of Christ and the beginning of the New Year.
January: The festivals of Epiphany and of St. John the Baptist on the sixth and seventh of January round off the Christmas festivities. Epiphany is celebrated with religious processions, the blessing of waters and diving by the faithful.
Countless other festivals are organized throughout the year in the villages by hundreds of educational and recreational groups. The festivals, especially those that include feasting and dancing, are publicly announced, so that foreigners can easily find out about them and join the fun.
(text: MANOLIS DOULGERAKIS & UTE SCHACHTELE)
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Heraklio Hoteliers Association tourist pamphlet.
LAPPEI (Municipality) RETHYMNO
The shepherds celebrate the "Koura" in the end of the spring. In St. George feast day they take their sheep to the church to be blessed and they milk them, giving the milk to all those who are present. After the harvest time there is "kazanemata", which is a process to make the raki.
All religious festivities are full of vigor and life with the day of Virgin Mary (8th September) in Miriokefala to stand as one of the most important, which is followed by a big pilgrimage. All these celebrations offer to the visitors perfect chances for feasts and fun.
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Municipality of Lappes tourist pamphlet.
Pages of the Prefectural Tourism Committee
KARES (Village) KOLYMBARI
, , 6/8/2002
Tel: +30 28240 91771
The Cultural Club of Karra organizes athletic events, in which the local schools participate. The children compete in track and cycling. After the end of the events, trophies are awarded for the performance of the students.
The night of the same day, along with the religious holiday of the metamorphosis of Chist, a fair follows. The participation of the people is big because of the hospitality of the village people. The menu includes delicious dishes and plenty of good wine. The feast is completed with Cretan music from local bands.
RETHYMNON (Town) CRETE
The most popular organisation in respect of participation is the Treasure Hunt of Rethymno. It is the favourite game of the locals of all ages and takes place two weeks before Carnival. During this marathon game, which lasts for one day, your brain, your body and your nerves are tested. The grade of difficulty has reached an unbelievable level, which makes it almost impossible for somebody who is not initiated to take part. However, it is a great experience to watch a group in action. The Treasure Hunt helped the young people of Rethymno to achieve a profound knowledge of the town's history, to come close to its monuments and to trace every single detail of historical periods.
It is worth mentioning that the way the players accomplish a task in this game has become an invariable component. A similarly important event is the "Children's Treasure Hunt", which takes place a week earlier.
Finally, the Association of Hotel owners in co-operation with the Municipality of Rethymno organises a treasure hunt each summer in the framework of the "International Day of Tourism". Visitors to the town are invited to participate and the winners are awarded 'all included' holidays in Rethymno.
This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.
GLOSSA (Village) KOLYMBARI
The day after Easter, the Mothiana-Skiafotou Cultural Club "the renewal", organises a meeting of the residents of the area and several visitors at the Table of Love.
Tables are spread with Easter dishes and red eggs. The locals offer lambs which they roast at the center of the square. After the attendees "clink" their eggs and begin eating, a feast follows with Cretan music. The attendance is big because the event is original for the area.
Tel: +30 28210 31363
Fair on Saint Theodoros the victorious army commander's day. With small ships the people are transferred from the harbour of Agia Marina to the island Thodorou and back. After the congregation there is an outdoor fair with food from the Province and the people. Very picturesque island where the protected cretan goat lives (agrimia-kri kri)
, 14/8 - 15/8
The night of the 22nd of August traditional boiled meat is cooked with rice piilaf and distributed for free by the stock-farmers of the Krapis plateau area.There is a fair with a traditional Cretan band in a nearby store. Morning congregation.
, 14/7 - 15/7
Fair in which the pilgrims are offered traditional Cretan dishes like: Boiled meat, Rice pilaf, Olives, Broad beans, Sardines, Rusks, Wine etc.
Treat with traditional dishes.
Fair in which the pilgrims are offered traditional Cretan dishes like: boiled meat, rice pilaf, olives, broad beans, sardines, rusks, wine etc.
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