August 15th is a very important Orthodox holiday

Called the Panagia or Assumption, it’s a religious holiday and a time for some real Greek style partying around Greece. The largest celebrations will be held on the island Tinos in the Cyclades. Where the Icon of Virgin Mary is kept in the Church of Virgin Mary (also called Panayia Evangelistria) is probably the most important religious monument in the whole of Greece. This date is very important in the Greek Orthodox calendar simply explained it is the celebration of Mary (mother of Jesus) rising to heaven. A national, as well as religious holiday and the biggest after Easter, banks and businesses, will be closed on the 15th. Today is also a great excuse for a party Greek style and there will be a few things going on around Rhodes on the day.

Kremasti Village

The Panagia Festival in Kremasti is the largest celebration on the island with a 10-day festival, there are traditional handicrafts and folk art on display in the main square, plus a funfair for children. Then on the 15th, there’s the Panagia Festival itself, when thousands of pilgrims come to pray at the Panagia Kremasti. Look out for barbecues on the square and expect traffic to be slow heading to the airport from Rhodes town for the 10 days of the festival with diversions sometimes in place.

πυλονα Pylona village church in Rhodes Greece from above

Pylona (Πυλονα) Village 

The largest Panagia Festival in the south of the island, Pylona has a huge festival centred around the church of Ag. Gerasimos. For a week leading up to it, there have been a souvlaki and drinks for sale and a mini-festival. On the 15th everything starts at the church with a service starting at about 6pm followed by a big festival with live music, dancing from 9pm. There will be grilled souvlaki and drinks to buy and it will go on until the morning.

Lindos Λινδοσ church tower Ροδοσ Rhodes Greece

Lindos (Λινδοσ) village

With 2 Panagia events happening Today Lindos will be busy. One traditional based around the church and main square at the entrance to the village organised by the church and donkey union with funds raised going to the fire victims in Athens. Starting from early evening you’ll find traditional music, souvlaki and dancing.  Something different from the “We Love Lindos” group who have organised a festival of colour with a Chroma Beach party, starting at midday with colour explosions happening at 5pm and 7pm featuring local DJs and musicians. Funds there are going to build a children’s play park.

You’ll find smaller church based festivals in Asklipio and Kiotari and in villages around the island. August 15th is also an important day for many Greeks as there are multiple name days celebrated today, if you know any Marias, Peters, Panagiotas and Despinas wish them a happy name day or χρόνια πολλά (chrónia pollá)

Plyona Πυλονα village church towe

Are you planning on going or have you been to a Panagia festival in Greece? I’ll be heading to the one in Pylona tonight if you’re around and say hi, I’ll be taking lots of pictures and videos to share the experience with you. If you enjoyed this and found it useful please comment and share. Thank you

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