Athens Events and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Athens, Attica, Greece)




Athens Events, Festivals and Things to DoThe culture of Greece has been around for many thousands of years, slowly evolving into today's present-day selection of museums, archaeological sites, religious festivals, ceremonial feasts and annual holidays. Within the capital of Athens are many of the country's biggest events and happenings, with almost 150 theatrical stages - the most in any city, anywhere on the planet.

The Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Moussikis) is a particular highlight, while specific things to do include the Ypapanti Festival at the beginning of February, the kite-flying at the Kathari Deftera each March, the holy week of Megali Evdomada in April, and the Pentkosti celebrations in June.

The Athens Festival (Epidaurus) also arrives in June and lasts throughout the summer, with its cultural themed events, live music and dancing, and theatrical performances being staged at venues such as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, based on the southern side of the Acropolis. Of note, the tourist office on Amerikas Street has a free monthly English magazine, 'Now in Athens', which lists current cultural events and happenings around the city.


National Public Holidays


  • 1st January - New Year's Day
  • 6th January - Epiphany, when the seas around Piraeus are blessed
  • 25th March - Feast of the Annunciation / Independence Day
  • Early April - Easter Monday
  • 1st May - Labour Day and Flower Festival
  • Good Friday - Greek Orthodox Easter
  • 15th August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 28th October - Ochi Day (when Greece said 'no' to Mussolini)
  • 25th December - Christmas Day
  • 26th December - Boxing Day

Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015



January


  • Agios Vasileios - January 1st, also known as Protochronia, this national holiday celebrates New Year's day and traditionally gifts are exchanged
  • Theofania - January 6th, Epiphany is a national holiday in Athens and an important feast day event. Blessing of the waters ceremonies take place throughout Greece, where youths dive to recover a cross that is thrown into the water by a priest

February


  • Ypapanti Festival - February 2nd, this Orthodox feast day takes place all over Greece, including Athens, prior to the pre-Lenten carnivals

March


  • Apokries - first Sunday before Lent, carnivals take place for three weeks leading up to the climax of the pre-Lenten festivities. There are parades, costume balls and many other celebrations in Athens
  • Kathari Deftera - kites are flown in the countryside
  • Independence Day and Evangelismos - March 25th, a national holiday in Greece, with parades, dances and other events, celebrating the 1821 revolt against the Ottoman empire

April


  • Megali Evdomada - holy week in late April / early May, including Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday
  • Agios Georgios - April 23rd, St. George's day is one of the most important feast days in the Orthodox calendar, commemorating the patron saint of shepherds

May


  • Protomagia - May 1st, May Day in Athens is also known as Labour Day. This is both a Greek national holiday and a family day
  • Agios Konstantinos Kai Agia Eleni - May 21st, a celebration throughout Greece for Constantine and his mother, Helen, the first Orthodox Buzantine rulers. Festivities generally include fire walking
  • Analipsi - Ascension is another important feast day, 40 days after Easter

June


  • Pentkosti - Pentecost or Whit Sunday is held seven weeks after Orthodox Sunday. This is an important feast day in Athens and throughout Greece
  • Agiou Pnevmatos - feast of the Holy Spirit or Whit Monday, a national holiday in Greece
  • Athens Festival - mid-June to mid-September, a popular, cultural fiesta with a mixture of modern and ancient theatre, ballet, opera, classical music and jazz, some of which is performed on the slopes of the Acropolis
  • Agios Ioannis - June 24th, St. John's Day is celebrated throughout Greece and commemorates the birth of St. John the Baptist. On the evening before, many large bonfires are lit in Athens

July


  • Agia Marina - July 17th, this day is widely celebrated in rural areas, with feasts to honour the saint, who is an important protector of crops
  • Ionnina Cultural Summer - July and August, with a wide range of music, arts and cultural events in Athens
  • Profitis Ilias - July 18th to 20th, the Prophet Elijah is widely celebrated at shrines

August


  • Metamorfosi - August 6th, transfiguration of Christ, this is an important day for the Orthodox church
  • Koimisis tis Theotokou - August 15th, Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This national holiday is a widely celebrated feast day in Athens
  • Apotomi Kefalis Ioannou Prodromou - August 29th, the beheading of St. John the Baptist is an occasion for religious-themed festivals in many chapels throughout Athens and Greece

September


  • Gennisis tis Theotokou - September 8th, the birth of the Virgin Mary is an important religious feast day in the Orthodox calendar
  • Ypsosis you Timiou Stavrou - September 14th, this feast day celebrates the Exaltation of the True Cross and is a major summer festival in Athens

October


  • Agios Dimitrios - October 26th, this traditionally marks the end of the grazing season and sheep are brought down from the hills
  • Ochi Day - October 28th, a national holiday with patriotic parades and dancing, commemorating the Greek reply of 'no' (ochi) to the 1940 ultimatum from Mussolini calling for surrender

November


  • Ton Taxiarchon Archangelou Michail kai Gavril - November 8th, ceremonies at the many rural monasteries and churches named after Arch angels Gabriel and Michael
  • Eisodia tis Theotokou - November 21st, an important feast day celebrating the presentation of the Virgin in the Temple

December


  • Agios Nikolaos - December 6th, St. Nicholas day celebrations at seaside churches (the patron saint of seafarers, travellers, children and orphans)
  • Christougenna - December 25th, Christmas Day in Athens is a national holiday and although less significant than Easter, it is still an important feast day event in the city
  • Synaxis tis Theotokou - December 26th, a national holiday, celebrating the religious meeting of the Virgin's entourage
  • New Year's Eve - December 31st, many festivities throughout Athens, seeing in the New Year







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