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In Greece we have several very big festivals each year, Easter being the biggest. The Easter celebrations start in earnest on Good Friday, generally a somber day in Greece and spookily, around 3pm a gentle rain will fall which seems to correspond to the time of Christ's crucifixion when 'the darkness spread across the land lasting until about 3'. Easter Saturday night at about 10pm, people will gather at the church for the Resurrection Mass, at the conclusion of the mass, everyone lights their Easter candle from the 'Holy Flame' and the cries of Christos Anesti, (Christ is risen) followed by the response of 'Alithos Anesti', (truely he has risen) ring out. Then people drift off back to their homes where they will break the Lenten fast with traditional meals of soup and lamb. Easter Sunday in Ermioni is a grand affair. Homes and tavernas alike will spend the mornings roasting lamb on the 'souvla', followed by a day eating and drinking. The evenings in Ermioni kick off about 8.30pm with the burning of Judas. Many small fishing boats assemble outside of the harbour, and then, accompanied by the sound of Vangelis' Chariots of Fire, they circle the effigy of Judas with red flares burning, on about the third time around, the lead boat then sets Judas on fire. At this point, the fireworks start. Usually lasting about 5 minutes and set to music and accompanied with strategic dynamite explosions is a truly memorable moment. To see when Easter falls please click HERE
Other festivals of note are: The Festival of Epiphany, or 'Yala Yala', where the sea is blessed by the priests and then a wooden cross is cast into the sea, where local young men dive in to retreive the cross, the winner being blessed with 12 months of good luck.
The Carnival of Apokries. This carnival/masquerade is the last big 'blow-out' before the begining of Lent in the Orthodox calendar. In Ermioni ususally a very colorful afair with the children of the town centre-stage.
Independance Day. 25th March. Greece's National Day. In Ermioni it starts with a service at the Taxiarchos Church in the old high town, follwed by a procession into the Limani, where wreaths are laid at the Town Memorial and local dignitaries make speaches, all rounded off by the children and youth of Ermioni marching by in traditional dress accompanied by a marching brass band.
In the 3rd week of October we have the new Pomegranate Festival. Although only in it's infancy, the people of Ermioni are very proud of this festival, it is a celebration of the pomeganate, which is grown in large quanities around the town and Ermioni pomegranates are renowned for their quality. There are stalls run by local taverna, cafe and restaurant owners showcasing food and drink produced from the humble pomegranate.
28th October - Oxi Day. Another proud national holiday in Greece which honours the day that Ioannis Metaxas, the then Prime Minister of Greece said Oxi, (NO) to Mussolini in WWII, when Greece was asked to stand aside and allow Italian occupation.
Christmas. Although Christmas is a much more low-key celebration in Greece, it is, none-the-less, a good time to visit the area. With none of the mad rush of the northern european Christmas, and usually blessed by warm sunshine still, Ermioni twinkles in the evenings with fairy lights adorning the balconies of the locals' houses. Nearly all of the tavernas and restaurant have welcoming open fires and it is a very relaxing way to spend an evening of good food and drink.
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