7 Festivals Worth Visiting Greece For

7 Festivals Worth Visiting Greece For

Greeks are always up for celebration and hence no doubt that the Greek calendar is a chock - full of festivals. It is home to a plethora of small and large festivals which attract people not only from all corners of the country but also from around the world.

Majority of these festivals are linked with Greek Orthodox Calendar and the others are linked with traditional cultural celebrations like music, art, dance and food. These festivals cover a variety of activities and make you see country in a different light.

But before we start I would like to know which is your favorite festival. Let me know in the comments below.

Here are some festivals worth travelling Greece for.

Athens and Epidaurus Festivals: -

The Athens and Epidaurus festival is the city's annual art festival and a highlight of Greek summer calendar. With a legacy of more than sixty years, today it incorporated a full program of music, theater, dance and visual art. It is a very long festival that spans almost 2 to 3 months. Yesss, you read it right, 2 to 3 months. 

This year its gonna be celebrated from 1st June to 18th August (Sorry for the late post).

The main highlight of the festival is watching performances at 2 ancient theaters, Odeon Herodes Atticus and Ancient Theater of Epidaurus. Both are famous for their exemplary acoustics. Many of the great works of classical playwrights such as Sophocles are premiered at the Epidaurus Theater.

To get the detailed schedule for this year's festivals click here.

The major attraction for this year is gonna be Sting, who will be performing at Odeon Herodes Atticus.

Aegina Fistiki Fest: -

This is a food festival from Greece celebrated on Aegina Island. This idyllic island is not just famed for its fishing villages and pristine beaches: Fistiki i.e pistachio nuts are also one of the sought after products of Aegina and this four day festival celebrates the tasty green fistik. This festival occupies an important place in island's social, cultural and financial life.

Aegina Fistiki Fest is celebrated in September which is time for pistachio harvest. There are music shows, theater performances and art exhibitions. There are many shops selling pistachio sweets. There are also piano and violin recitals around the temple of Aphaia and lectures on environmental issues in Kolona Museum.

One of the major highlights of the Fistiki Fest is the Artists' route. More than 100 artists take part to display their work in unconventional spaces like bars, grocery shops and coffee shops. The stroll through the town just feels like a visit to a art gallery. 

There is also a huge parade which reenacts the highlights of pistachio history on the island.

Thessaloniki International Film Festival: -

This festival is one of Southeast Europe's primary showcases for the work of new and emerging filmmakers. Founded in 1960, as a Week of Greek Cinema, it became international in 1992, including a competition section for feature length films by emerging directors presenting their first film.

Most of the action of the festival is focused around Aristoteleus Square, close to city's waterfront. The two main hubs for the showings - the Olympian and the Pavlos Zannas movie theaters are found here. There are also several other cinemas near Thessaloniki Port.

This year the festival will be celebrating its 58th year and the Greek Cinema will be on spotlight. Audiences will have an opportunity to see a total of 33 Greek films, 20 of which are premiering for the first time. This year the festival is gonna be celebrated from 1st to 11th November.

Like most festivals, Thessaloniki organizes its films in various themes such as Open Horizons, Invisible Hands, Film Forward and Round Midnight. Another theme running trough the programming but not officially recognized as such might be called "Domesticated Sci - Fi" - films with speculated sci-fi or speculative elements.

Athens Authentic Marathon: -

As the name suggests, it is an annual marathon road race held in Athens , normally in early November. This year it will be held on 11th November. The race attracts more than 30,000 competitors every year.

The marathon course is based on the legend from which the race gained its name : Pheidippides, a messenger from ancient Greece, ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce Greek's victory over the Persians. Athens Authentic Marathon began in 1972. It is a tough race of 42 kms.

It is perhaps the most difficult marathon race; the course is uphill from 10 km mark till 31 km mark - the toughest hill climb of any major marathon. The course begins in the town of Marathon, where it passes the tomb of Athenian soldiers and it traces a path near the coast through Nea Makri, Following the steep rise, the course goes downhill towards the city of Athens. It passes the statue of a runner in the city center before finishing up at Panathinaiko Stadium. 

The Athens Authentic Marathon is much more than just a race. It is a bridge that unifies the legend with history; it showcases the strength of human will; it is a fountain of values, of social liability, environmental sensitivity, friendship and solidarity. 

Naoussa Carnival: -

The Naoussa Carnival is known for its good spirit, traditional customs and the unique custom of "Boules of  Heroic Town of Naoussa" and the same strict rules that were followed centuries ago. 

The carnival season in Naoussa, located in Macedonia, in northern Greece, is a fun celebration which centers on the 'Genitsaroi and Boules', one of the oldest and most popular customs in Greece. In this custom, the unmarried men dress up ad Genitsaroi, while the bride, also played by a man, parades through the town, wearing a specific mass. They are accompanied by music and dances. The parade is very well organized and follows the same itinerary and traditional songs.

The festival and its traditions were started long back during the Ottoman rule.

Rockwave Festival: -

Till now we have discussed about sports, food and traditional festivals of Greece. Now lets check out a music festival. Rockwave Festival is the rock festival that takes place in Malakasa near Athens. It is one of the most famous festivals in Greece. 

The need of a pop-rock festival in Greece led to its creation. The festival's history begins in 1996, but its popularity has spread since 2004. The location of the festival was constantly changed until 2004, when it was held in TerraVibe Park in Attica and it became the permanent location or the festival. Being among the biggest festivals worldwide, it welcomes greatest bands and famous artists from all over the world.

One of the most important music festivals in Athens, the RockWave festival is not exactly the kind of festival you are familiar with. In contrast to normal music festivals, this festival welcomes its guests month by month rather than day by day. Starting in May and delivering its program bit by bit.

The dates for the next shows for the festival are 6th, 19th and 20th July. The performing bands are Arctic Monkeys, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

Check out the tickets here - 

Corfu Easter: -

The next festival in our list is Easter. It is the most important festival in Greece, even more important than Christmas. Corfu is considered to be the best place to experience Easter in Greece.

Easter is the biggest festival of Orthodox Church and in Corfu it is even greater, more devout, spectacular and has rituals that are found nowhere else. The celebration continues for 10 days starting from Friday before Lazarus and continues till Easter Sunday. 

There are processions, music and poetry evenings, concerts of Church music, Twelve Gospel Readings and many more. The Catholic Church and Orthodox Church despite of differences in calendar, come together in Corfu and celebrate the festival together.

The events of Holy Saturday are perhaps the best moments of Easter in Corfu. It begins at 6 in the morning with an artificial earthquake which is followed by procession of Epitaph of the church of Saint Spiridon.

At around 11 in the morning, all the locals come to their balconies and throw clay pitchers in the street. The custom has its roots in Venetian rule when people used to throw their old things away in hope that coming year will bring them better and newer replacements.

At the hour of Resurrection, different ceremonies are held in villages. But the most spectacular Resurrection mass is in the bandstand on Upper Espalande in Corfu Town.

Also Check Out My Other Posts on Greece


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