COCTUMS in Athens and all Greece:


On 6th January is the day of Epiphany or Theophania. Reference to the day being a Feast of Light. Greeks believe that it was the day of the baptism of Jesus. So in this event, priests throw the symbol of Christianity in the sea and the young men dive to find it. The first man that will catch it is blessed for the whole year. The biggest observance is at Piraeus port, but many islands and villages offer smaller versions of this event.
-Feast of St Basil. This is associated with a good start for the new year. An old Byzantine custom of slicing the Vassilopita (Basilcake or New Year Cake) gives the person who finds the hidden coin in his slice, good luck for the year.
-On the island of Andros there are special New Years Celebrations.
-In the community of Plaki near Veria there is a reenactment of the old customs of Farasson in Cappadocia


Greek Monday marks the end of Greek carnival, and the beginning of Lent, the fact which lasts until Easter.
On this day, families go for a picnic-without meat, with tasty seafood and vegetarian dishes, with a special bread (lagana). Also this day is characteristic for the kite flying. You can enjoy the skies, with hundreds of kites in all over Greece. This custom is because some say that flying kite was an attempt by man to scare away evil or that is symbolic for a person sending away all bad things, getting purified.
In late Mid February Greece's Carnival Season called Apokrias  (period of carnavals), begins and lasts two weeks. The festivities are particularly enjoyable in Naousa, Veria, Kozani, Zante, Skyros, Xanthi, Chios(in Mesta, Olimbi, Thymiana), Galaxidi, Thebes(where a mock shepards wedding is held), Poligiros, Lamia, Kefalonia, Messini, Soho, Seres, Agiassos in Lesvos, Karpathos, Herklion in Crete, Amfissa, Efxinoupolis(Volos), Agia Ana(Evia),Rethymnon in Crete and especially in Patras and in Athens.


1. In March one of the customs in Greece is  making and wearing the "March Bracelet". March, traditionally considered the first
 month of spring, and brings a lot of sun shines, so in order to protect themselves from being burnt, the Greeks, wear these
red (symbolise life and pasion) and white (symbolizes purity)  bracelets, especially at children. 
Independance Day. March 25th 1821 is a very important day in Greek history. Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese, and yet another revolution against the Turks began. It goes without saying that independence day is very important for Greek citizens, and they celebrate it to the full. In the capital, Athens, the day is celebrated with a large military  parade through the main street in front of the Parliament building.


Easter is the country's most important religious festival and is the most holy of all of the Greek holidays. Many of the day’s traditions bond the different generations together.Easter Monday, the day after Easter Sunday, is celebrated as a holiday in Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox cultures, including in Greece. Easter is a moveable holiday.The preparations for the celebration of the Resurrection start on Holy Thursday. On that day, housewives traditionally prepare special cakes named tsourekia, biscuits and red color eggs. The use of egg is a symbol of rebirth while the red color stands for the blood of Christ. Friday is the most sacred day of the Holy Week, the day of the culmination of the passion of Christ with the deposition from the cross and Christ’s burial. Because it is a day of mourning, housewives avoid doing housework. Women and children go to church to decorate the Epitaph (Bier of Christ) with flowers, while in the evening the Epitaph procession takes place. On Saturday morning, preparations start for the festive dinner and a special soup is cooked called “maghiritsa”. Shortly before midnight, people gather in church holding white candles which they light with the “Holy Light” distributed by the priest. When the latter chants “Christ is risen” (Christos Anesti), people exchange wishes and the so-called “Kiss of Love”. With the “Holy Light” of the candles they make three times the sign of the cross on the door post over the front door of their houses for good luck. Then they all gather around the table, they crack red eggs and wish one another Christos Anesti. On Sunday morning, mainly in Greek countryside, lamb is prepared on the spit and people eat and dance usually until late at night.
23rd of April, 
-Feast of Saint George is celebrated in Lemnos in the village of Kaliopi with horse races.
- In Arahova near Delphi there is a three day non-stop feast.
- In Assi Gonia near Chania, in Crete the religious celebration is followed by a sheep-shearing contest among the local shepherds.
- In the village of Pili on the island of Kos there are horse races followed by song and dancing.
- Between the 22nd and 23rd a festival is held at the Monastery of Agios Yiorgos Peristereotas in the village of Rodohori where local Pontos dances are performed.


The custom of Protomagia (1rs May) has its roots in ancient Greece - it is a celebration of spring, nature, and flowers. 
Flower wreaths, typically made from hand picked wild flowers, will be hung on the doors of many homes in a way to welcome nature and all things good.
Maios (May) the last month of Spring took its name from the Goddess Maja, a goddess who took her name from the ancient word Maia, the nurse and mother. May, according to Greek folklore, has two meanings: The good and the bad, rebirth and death. 
The custom celebrates the final victory of the summer against winter as the victory of the life against death go back to the ancient years and culminate at the first day of May. This day was also dedicated to the goddess of agriculture Dimi.
-May 21st -Celebration of the Unification of the Ionian Islands with the rest of Greece takes place on the island of Corfu.
-In Rethymnon, Crete, they celebrate the anniversary of the battle of Crete.
-In Kassos there is a fiesta in Vrissi with local songs and dancing.
-May 20th to 30th -In Karditsa the Kariaskaki folkloric celebration with dancing, parades and pagentry honoring the lives of the guerillas who fought Ottoman rule.
-May 21st-23rd -The Anasternaria is the traditional fire walking which dates back to pagan times. Barefoot villagers of Agia Elleni near Serres and at Langada near  Thessaloniki, clasp icons of Saint Constantine and Saint Helen and dance upon charcoal embers without getting burned. 
-May 29th-The Paleological Festival at Mistras is combined with a requiem mass in memory of Constantine Paleologos, the last of the Byzantine emperors.


Fifty days after Easter, the "Pentecost Sunday'', the day when the Holy Spirit went to the Apostles. Monday is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. According to tradition, the resurrection the souls of loved ones who have died come down to earth and reboot the day of Pentecost. In Northern Greece, on the eve of Pentecost housewives were making pies and  go to church with a candle and a basket of roses, for the souls of the dead. The pies were usually savory cheese or sweet with nuts and sugar .
-Early June in Florina is the Festival of Local Dances.
-In Alexandroupolis is the  flower show, the first ten days of the month.
A Sunday is chosen between the 25th of June and the 15th of July for the Flowers and Cherry Blossom Dance at the village of Emborio in Kozani.
-The Miaoulis Festival, the last weekend in June on Hydra, a celebration of the great admiral Miaoulis, from the war for independence. There are different activities in the town like dance performances, speeches, brass bands etc. The big performance is on Saturday evening. There is a “water theater” in the harbour where they show “the great sea battle” with the burning of a Turkish flagship. Afterwards there is a spectacular firework (and sometimes an unexpected grass fire).


The harvest of wheat and cursing was in June with main tool scythe.  At harvest the cobs gathered in small packages cherovola,  many such cherovola were large bales and transported to the edge of the threshing floors were placed in large piles so called haystacks. In July followed the threshing, threshing floors in the village that was and is the perimeter outside.
-In Kalamata they hold traditional folk dances in the medieval castle for the entire month.In mid-July in Elefsina near Athens there is a folklore festival.
-At the end of July in Sitia on the island of Crete is the Sultana Raisin Festival.
-Also in July the Epidavros Festival of Greek Tragodies is held at the little theater of Epidavros.


 -On the island of Skyros horse racing with the local breed of small ponies. The jockeys wear special local costumes and the village maidens dressed as brides in traditional costume dance.
 -The Olympus Festival in the village of Litohoro in Katerini includes various artistic events held in the old castle.
 -In Naousa in Paros the Pirate Raid Pagentry is held
 -In Early August in Zante they hold the International Meeting of Medieval and Popular Theatre.
 -The first week of August in the village of Anogia, Crete a festival is held with hospitality offered to visitors.
 -The day of the Panagia (Virgin Mary)
This is the second biggest religious holiday after Easter and on the island of Tinos this day is celebrated like on no other. Pilgrims by the thousands come here to crawl on their knees up the steps to the church that holds the holy Icon. But this day is also celebrated in almost every town and village in Greece especially those with a church dedicated to the Panagia (Virgin Mary). 


From the 1st to the 15th is the Anhiolos Wine Festival in Thessaloniki.
Also in Thessaloniki in September is the International Trade Fair which includes the Song and Film Festival.
-In Messologhi they hold the Lord Byron Poetry and Art festival.
-In Kos there is a 2 day wine Festival with song and dance. There are Grape festivals in Corinth, Pidni near Katerini,
 and a wine festival in the village of Ambelona near Larissa.
-Towards the end of September in Kythira is the festival of the Myrtidiotissa Monastery.
-In Santorini the International Music Festival in Thira features well known orchestras, conductors and performers of Classical music.


In Thessaloniki the Demmetria Artistic and Cultural events. In Larissia the Eleftheria Festival of popular dances and theatrical performances. Around the 21st of the month is the Chestnut festival of Elos near Kissamos, Crete.
The 8th is the celebration of Saint Iganatios at the Limonas monastery in Kaloni, Lesvos.
The 28th is Ochi Day, celebrating the Greek refusal to let Italy occupy the country during WWII.
 The Italians invaded and were driven back into Albania and nearly back to Italy. There are military parades in the major towns and cities.

The 17th of November is the anniversary of the student uprising at the Polytechnic University in Athens in 1973. The demonstrations against the military dictatorship gained momentum and was crushed when tanks crashed the gates of the university killing many students. The holiday is celebrated with the annual march and stoning of the American Embassy. If you have business at the Embassy it is a good idea to save it for another day.
The first week of the month is the anniversary of the holocaust at the Arkadi Monastery in Rethymnon, Crete.


CHRISTMAS IN GREECE AND THE TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS BOAT: The decoration of the Christmas tree is not a Greek habit. It is said that the first Christmas tree in Greece was decorated by the Bavarian king Otto in 1833. In Greece, according to the tradition, we decorate a boat, mainly on the islands. The boat symbolizes the maritime identity of the country. Greeks, a seafaring nation, of course combined the celebration of Christmas with the sea. The decoration of the ship was also a kind of honor and welcome to the sailors returning home to celebrate Christmas with their families.Children used to make their own boat, using wood and paper and then decorate them with colorful fabrics, cotton and twigs. On Christmas boat in Greece Christmas Eve, many groups of children were singing carols from house to house, having with them the handmade boats and filling them with the treats they received.
Hobgoblins. The hobgoblins are known as kallikantzari in Greek. According to the folk Christmas traditions, the hobgoblins are short, ungly creatures with many deformities. All year round, they live underground and saw the tree of the year. From Christmas until the Epiphany Day (January 6th), they come up to the world and tease people with many pranks. On the Epiphany Day, the priest of the village goes from house to house and sprinkles the rooms with blessed water so that the hobgoblins return underground.