Posted by: Studios Delfini - Diafani, Karpathos | August 4, 2011

August Festivals in Karpathos, Greece

15th of August – “Panagias” Assumption of Virgin Mary festival in Diafani and Olympos

This is the most popular festival in Karpathos… so popular in fact that Karpathians living abroad in America, Germany, Australia, etc. who travel to Greece plan their visits around Panagias. “Panagias” means “All-Holy”  and refers to the Virgin Mary. This festival is a very important religious holiday and is also celebrated in Italy and other parts of the world.

Church services begin early in the morning around 8 a.m. and end around 11 a.m. both in Diafani and Olymbos. The service in Olympos draws a huge crowd of locals and tourists, while the service in Diafani is much more subdued. After the church service, “arto” (bread blessed during the service), loukoumades (honey dough), watermelon, and liquer/spirits are offered to all in attendence and a meal follows in the church halls.

Musicians begin to play traditional instruments and the men gather around them and sing. The dancing begins in the evening and the young women dressed in the beautiful and colorful traditional clothing and gold jewelry arrive. The music and dancing go on to the early hours of the next morning.  A unique experience not to be missed if you are in Karpathos in August. The festival has remained unchanged for hundreds of years… it’s no wonder Diafani/Olympos was named one of Greece’s “Five Cultural Best.”

28th & 29th of August – Festival of Saint John in Vroukounda

This is another important and very unique festival. It takes place on the ancient site of Vroukounda. The festival for Agios Ioannis (Saint John) is an overnight festival where everyone brings their own sleeping bags and blankets and they settle under the stars. Most locals will walk the downhill path to Vroukounda from the the small farming village of Avlona, but there are also ferry boats going there as well.  The church service is in the extraordinary church built inside a cave. After the service, there is a meal prepared for all the attendees and then the festivities begin. The next day there is another short service in the church followed by feasting, music and dancing which will continue in Avlona for the next two nights.

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