A Greek festival is a tradition of culture and entertainment where you will taste the Greek food, Greek music, Greek culture, Greek dancing and great family fun. Furthermore, and depending on local arrangements there are raffles and shopping for Greek, jewelry, books, music, spices, etc. Several places also organize running races and other outdoor activities. A greek Festival is an event that you should not miss! And do not worry, even if you can't dance syrtaki or hasapiko you will still feel at home!
Greece has several festivales that have been known from the ancient time. Today, the Festivals in Greece have a religious core and are in agreement with the Orthodox calendar. The Orthodox calendar is similar to the Catholic calendar except for Easter. Greek Festivals are usually organized by the local communities of Greek Orthodox Churches. A Greek Orthodox Church, beyond a place of religious worship, is habitually the center of cultural activities of the local Greek community. There is normally a committee of volunteers within the community that is formed particularly for the purpose of organizing the Greek Festival. This directive labor acquires months of preparation and nearing the days of the Greek Festival many more volunteers are mobilized. The highly noted in these festival days are the numerous ladies (and often gentlemen) who are known in the community for their discipline and skill in cooking traditional Greek food. This is why the food at Greek Festivals has a distinct home made taste and presentation. Many of these volunteer cooks often use recipes that have their origin to their grand-grand parents and are characteristic of particular geographic origins in Greece.
A different usual attraction is the demonstration of traditional Greek folk dances achieved by either the young of the local Greek Sunday school introduced by the Church, or by local members of the community who form a dance group as a hobby. Also there is often a Greek band that is commissioned to play Greek music during the festival - depending on the local resources. They usually play traditional folk tunes as well as contemporary Greek music. There's free dancing under these tunes for anyone who likes to try. Greek dances are mostly performed in groups that hold each other by hands or by the shoulders, so it is not difficult to follow even if you don't know what you are doing; the others in the group will lead you. It is also common at Greek festivals to find merchants whose job is to go to Greek festivals and sell Greek artifacts that are imported from Greece, such as souvenirs, jewelry, pottery, little statues, posters, pictures, music, etc.
National and Religious Publics Holidays in Greece
The following are national and religious publics holidays:
New Year's Day - January 1
Theophany - January 6
The Yinekokratia - January 8
Three Holy Hierarchs (school holiday) - January 30
The Carnivals - January 31- February 22
Clean Monday (First day of Lent) - February 19
Greek Independence - March 12
Independence Day and The Annunciation of the Theotokos - March 25
Great and Holy Friday - April
Holy Saturday - April 7
Pascha (Easter) - April 8
Bright Monday - April 9
The Feast of Agios Georgios (St George)- April 23
May Day / Labour Day - May 1
Holy Spirit Monday (Pentecost Monday) - May/June
Dormition of the Theotokos - August 15
WWII Day / "OXI Day" - October 28
Student Uprising - November 17
Nativity of Christ (Christmas) - December 25
Cultural Events in Greece
Greece has a large diversity of cultural events, among they are:
Hellenic Festival, it occurs in Athens s Herodes Atticus theatre and proposes a large range of performances: modern and ancient theatre, ballet, opera, jazz and classical music, dances, symphonic music and great singers and several other singular events. The festival occurs from June 2 to September 28.
International Jazz & Blues Festival, it occurs in Athens, in June, is welcomed by the theatre of Lycabettus. Lycabettus also welcomes every year many other events such as music, dances and theatrical performances from the national and international scene.
Epidaurus Festival, the ancient theatre of Epidaurus meets a festival of Classical drama performances every summer during the months of July and August. It is one of Greece s top events which attract thousands of visitors every year.
The Film festival of Thessaloniki, This Festival is the Balkans primary showcase for the work of new and emerging filmmakers and leading film artists in the region and beyond. The event offers the International Section, the panorama of Greek films, the New Horizons program, the Balkan Survey, and numerous tributes to leading figures in the world of film.
International Festival of Patra, it occurs from July to September and presents drama, theatre and classical music performances.
Rockwave Festival, this Festival meets every summer in Athens to the international bands and musicians.
European Music day, the Music Day which also meets every summer in Athens, during 3 days, international and national bands and musicians for all night long.
Samothraki Festival, this festival individually from a musical event is an important meeting for ecology. It will take place in Samothraki Island in July the 21,22,23 and 24.
Sani Festival, A annual celebration since 1993, this festival unites nationally and internationally admired artists at the Sani Resort. Events such as music concerts, dance performances and painting exhibitions are held in different venues around the Sani Resort from July to September every year.