GREECE: EVENTS CALENDAR

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GREECE: EVENTS CALENDAR

January
January 1, Sant Vasil (Aggios Vasilios). Is the Greek equivalent of Santa Claus. A special cake, vasilopita, is made with a coin in it; the person who gets the piece with the coin will have good luck.
January 6, Epiphany is celebrated with the blessing of baptismal fonts and water. 
January 8, Gynecocracy (Gynaikokratia) is celebrated in some villages in 
Thrace, when women take over the cafes and the men stay home and do the 
housework.
February
Carnival (To Karnavali) In various regions of Greece Carnivals are held which have as their main characteristic the distinctive local color and the people's intention to keep the tradition alive.
The Carnival celebration usually begins on Tsiknopempti with a series of cultural, theatrical and other events. The participants are masquerade parties, float parades, majorettes, ballet groups and music bands etc. which fill the streets, theatres, cultural centres and squares of the whole country. The celebrations reach their climax with the traditional party (Koulouma) on Ash Monday, when a kite-flying spectacle takes place.
The city of Patras shows its support of the latter theory with its famous chariot parade and wild Saturnalia, private panics and public celebrations, Masked revels are also widely held in Macedonia. 
 
On the island of Skyros, the pagan "Goat Dance" is performed, reminding us of the primitive Dionysiac nature of the festivities. Crete has its own colorful versions, while in the Ionian islands, festivities are more Italian. In Athens, people bop each other on the head with plastic hammers. Celebrations last the 3 weeks before the beginning of Lent.
March
March 25, Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation. The religious celebration is particularly important on the islands of Tinos and Hydra arid in churches or monasteries named Evanggelismos ("Bringer of Good News") or Evanggelistria (the feminine form of the name).
April
Sound & light performances begin on the Acropolis in Athens and the Old Town on Rhodes. The history of the city with music, drama and lighting effects. Nightly to October.
May
May 1. May Day is an important urban holiday when families have picnics in the 
country and pick wildflowers, which are woven into wreaths and hung from bal- 
conies and over doorways.
Folk-dance performances begin in the amphitheater on Filopappos Hill in Athens and continue to September.
Sound & light shows begin in Corfu town and continue to mid-September.
June
Athens Festival features superb productions of ancient drama, opera, orchestra performances, ballet, modern dance, and popular entertainers in the handsome Odeum of Herodes Atticus June through September.
Wine Festival is held annually at Daphni, about 10 kilometers (7 miles) west of 
Athens; other wine festivals are held on Rhodes and elsewhere.
Aegean Festival on Skiathos presents ancient drama, modern dance, folk music and dance, concerts, and art exhibits in the Bourtzi Cultural Center in the harbor of Skiathos town. June through September.
July
Dodoni Festival presents classical dramas at the ancient theater of Dodoni, South of loannina. July through September.
Epidaurus Festival of classical Greek drama begins in the famous amphitheater and continues to early September.
August
Aeschylia festival of ancient drama stages classical dramas at the archaeological site of Eleusis, home of the ancient Mysteries and birthplace of Aeschylus, west of Athens. August to mid-September.
August 15, Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin is an important day of religious pilgrimage.  The holiday reaches monumental proportions in Tinos; thousands of people descend on the small port town to participate in an all-night vigil at the cathedral of Panagia Evanggelistria, in the procession of the towns miraculous icon, and in the requiem for the soldiers who died aboard the Greek battleship Elli on this day in 1940. 
Epirotika Festival in loannina presents theatrical performances, concerts, and 
exhibitions. August.
Olympus Festival presents cultural events in the Prankish Castle of Platamonas, near Mount Olympus. August.
September
Thessaloniki International Trade Fair. This is one of the world's major trade 
fairs. Rooms are scarce in the city, so if the fair's not your destination, try to come to Thessaloniki at another time. For information, call +3 0310271 888. Mid-September.
Thessaloniki Film Festival and Festival of Popular Song. That lively and sophisticated city continues to live it up. End of September.
October
October 26, Feast of St. Demetrius (Agios Dimitrios) is particularly important in Thessaloniki, where he is the patron saint.
October 28, Ochi Day {ochi in Greek = "no"). Day when General Metaxas negative reply  to Mussolini's demands in 1940.
November
November 8, Feast of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael (Gavriel and Mihail), with  ceremonies in the many churches named for them. 
November 30, Feast of St. Andrew (Agios Andreas), patron saint of Patras, is another excuse for a party in that swinging city. 
December
December 6, Feast of St. Nikolaos (Agios Nikolaos) the patron saint of sailors. Numerous processions head down to the sea and the many chapels 
dedicated to him.
December 25 and 26, Christmas. The day after Christmas honors the Gathering Around the Holy Family (Synaksis tis Panagias).
December 31, New Year's Eve, when children go out singing Christmas carols (kalanda) while their elders play cards, talk, smoke, eat, and imbibe. 

Some materials are from the book Frommer's Greece, Maximilian Publishing



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