The most famous celebrations are the festivals to honor the saint-protector of each village. In all the regional districts of Crete, each village celebrates its saints with music, food and traditional Cretan dancing. Most festivals take place during the summer months, culminating in mid-August, when hundreds of festivals take place simultaneously across the whole island.
The following religious feasts and celebrations are taking place in Chania regional unit.
FESTIVALS IN CHANIA
Agios Ioannis Sfakion, St John’s Feast, May 8th: Traditional festival of Sfakia.
Azogyre, The Holy Fathers’Feast, October 7th: In the beautiful village with the visitable impressive cave of the Holy Fathers.
Aradaina, Archangel Michael’s Day, November 8th: Directly above the impressive gorge of Aradaina, in the deserted but beautiful village.
Asi Gonia, St. George’s Day, April 23rd or after Easter Day: A big festival. All the shepherds of the area bring their animals to the mass in order to be blessed, then they milk them and distribute the milk to the pilgrims.
Elos, Agios Dikaios,May 6th: Extraordinary view and a unique fair.
Therisso, Assumption of the Mother of God, August 15th: In the beautiful village where Eleftherios Venizelos declared the revolution of 1905.
Kandanos, the Ascension ofChrist (1)
Koustogerago, St Catherine, November 25th: High over Koustogerago with majestic view to the fair which is also to commemorate the rescue of the rebels that were hiding themselves from the Germans in a cave there.
Lissos, St Kyrikos, July 15th: The pilgrims start arriving ancient Lissos on foot or in boats from Sougiaγια early in the afternoon of the previous day. A real fair of Selino in a mythical place.
Paleochora, Annunciation of the Mother of God, March 25th: Many musical instruments and happy atmoshereσ’ The entire Paleochora, in the beginning of spring.
Sembronas, Apopigadi, St. John’s, June 24th: One of the feasts, that take place on a very high location, with an incredible view.
Sougia, Harey, St. Antony 1-2 of July: Unique traditional fair at the seaside small church which is situated in Harey. The route on foot from through the E4 path that lead from Sougia to Agia Roumeli lasts two hours with the unique background of the Lybian sea and piney slopes. It is possible to go there also by boat from Sougia. Overnight stay outdoor.
Strovles, Holy Ghost’s (2)
Sfakia, Thymiani Panagia, last Sunday of May.
Chrysoskalitissa, the Assumption of the Virgin, August 15th: At the beautiful monastery, which is a real «balcony» to the Lybian Sea a famous festival takes place.
Frangokastello, St. Nikitas’, September 15th: Big festival during which riding races take place.
Floria, Michael Archangel’s, November 8th: Small traditional festival.
Other excellent festivals, by date, are the following:
August 6th, the Transfiguration: Ksirosterni, Tzitzife, Karres of Kissamos, Sassalo
August 15the the Assymption of the Virgin: Voulgaro Panagia of the Summit, Kolympari Gonia, Pemonia, Fre, Eksopolis, Litsarda, Alikampo, Kefala, Kalikrati, Koustogerago
August 29th, John the Precursor’s: Rodopou Gionas, Douliana, Stylos, Kournas
September 8th, το Birth of the Mother of Christ: Gavalohori, Tzitzife, Sassalo
September 14th, Feast of the Holy Cross: Nippos, Rodovani
September 15th St. Nikitas’: Kampia
(1) The feast has no date, because it is «movable» – 40 days after the Orthodox Easter
(2) The feast has no date because it is «movable» – 50 days after the Orthodox Easter
The following religious feasts and celebrations are taking place in Rethymnon regional unit.
FESTIVALS IN RETHYMNON
Festival of Ipapantis (Mariou)
Celebration festival of Saint Georgios (Zoniana, Plakias)
Celebration festival of Saints Konstantinos and Eleni (Axos)
Festival of Analipsi ( Anoghia )
Festivities of Klidona ( Panormos )
Festival of Analipsi ( Panormos )
Celebration Festival of saint Panteleimon (Adele, Chromonastiri )
Celebration Festival of saint Ilias ( Eleutherna )
Celebration events of Mother Maria ( AgiaGalini, Koxare , SeliaAxos )
Celebration festival of Mother Maria of the village Charakas (Bali)
Celebration of Stavros ( Axos )
Celebration events of Mother Maria ( Miriokefala , Lefkogia )
The roots of the modern cultural events are to be found in the festivals and celebrations that were held in the countryside of Crete on the occasion of mainly religious holidays.
In many Cretan villages, on the initiative of cultural associations or the local people, festivals are still organised. They are the occasion for local people to gather together, and at the same time encourages preservation of the customs and traditions of the place.
FESTIVALS IN HERAKLION
June 24th Festival of Ai-Yianni Klidona, Municipality of Gortyna, Archanes – Asterousia
June 29th Festival of the Apostles Peter and Paul (Petros and Pavlos), Municipality of Phaistos
July 17th Festival of Agia Marina, Municipality of Malevizi, Minoa Pediada
July 27th Festival of Agios Panteleimonas, Municipalities of Archanes – Asterousia Malevizi, Viannou, Phaistos
August 6th Festival of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (Metamorphosis tou Sotira), Minoa Pediada
August 8th Festival of Agios Myronas, Municipality of Gortyna
August 15th Festival of Our Lady (Tis Panagias) Municipality of Heraklion, Malevizi Phaistos Peninsula
August 25th The great festival of Agios Titos, Municipality of Heraklion
September 8th Festival with music and dance at the Monastery of Kera, Municipality of Hersonissos
October 26th Festival of Agios Dimitrios, Municipality of Hersonissos
November 3th Festival at the Monastery of Epanosifis, Municipality of Gortyna
November 8th Grand festival of Agios Minas, Municipality of Heraklion
November 30th Festival of Agios Andreas, Minoa Pediada
December 4th Festival of Agia Varvara, Municipality of Gortyna
December 23rd Festival of the Ten Saints (Agion Deka), Municipality of Gortyna
March 25th Festival of the Annunciation (Evaggelismou), Municipality of Heraklion
April 23rd Festival of St. George (Agios Georgios, Municipality of Gortyna
May 5th Festival of Agia Eirini, Municipality of Malevizi
May 21st Festival of Agion Konstantinos and Eleni, Minoa Pediada
The following religious feasts and celebrations are taking place in Lasithi regional unit.
FESTIVALS IN LASSITHI
The three Prelates, 30/1 in Psihro Lasithiou.
Saint George, 23/4. In Skalia close to village Sitanos
Saint John the Theologian, 8/5. In Marmaketo
Holy Trinity, 4/6. Palaikastro and Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity, 4/6. Armenoi/Sitia
Saints Kosmas and Damianos, 1/7. Mesa Lasithaki. Panlasithian feast
Saint Marina, 17/7. In Exo Mouliana, in Myrsini and Praissos
Prophet Elias, 20/7. In Mesa Mouliana
Saint Paraskevi, 26/7. In Ziros, in Tourtouloi and in Agia Triada
St Panteleeimon, 27/7. In Roussa Ekklisia, in Chamezi and in Skinokapsala
Transfiguration of Christ at the Mt Thabor 6/8. In Exo Mouliana, in Agios Stefanos and in Zakros
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven Eve,14/8. In Maronia
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, 15/8. In Palaikastro, Lastros, Piskokefalo, Tourloti, Sitanos
Saint John, 29/8. In Ziros
Saint John the Baptist 29/8. In Dafni
Nativity of the Blesses Virgin Mary, 8/9. In Lithines.
Holy Cross, 14/9. In Sfaka
Saint Sofia, 17/9. Armenoi/Sitia
Saint Ariadni, 18/9, Tzermiado. The only church under that name in Crete
Saint Catherine, 25/11. In Sitia
Saint Anna, 9/12. in Piskokefalo