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Rethymno Events


Easter in Rethymno

Cretan people are indeed loyal to all religious celebrations and, when it comes to Easter, they pay special tribute to the Week of the Passions of the Christ by organizing and attending all religious customs.

In Rethymno, from the picturesque Old Town to all mountainous villages people are moving in the rhythms of Easter…a feast of colours and scents overwhelms the entire prefecture as Rethymnians are getting ready for the Resurrection Day.

Cookies, kalitsounia, red dyed eggs, a great variety of Cretan cheese, the Easter Cake and the vast variety of roasted meats and local recipes accompanying Easter is the highlight of this period in Rethymno!

The special custom of Judas’ Burning, a symbolic act to punish the man who was responsible for Christ’s Crucifixion, is one of the most original traditions of the area and is the attraction for both locals and travelers.

On the night of the Resurrection (Saturday night) at the very moment that the priest calls out “Christos Anesti” (meaning “Christ has been resurrected”) they light a fire in a bunch of woods with an old suit at its peak, which has been placed in advance right outside the church. The old suit symbolizes Judas and people burn him as a symbolism right at the moment that Christ is considered to have resurrected!

And, just like the rest of Greece, on Sunday an endless feast of music, roasted meats, folk dances, wine and raki and local delicacies takes place in the countryside or within the small alleys of the Old Town or the small villages!


 

The Wine Festival
Local producers exhibit and sell their quality products such as wine, olive products, cheese, herbs and honey. The calendar includes many events such as art exhibitions, traditional folk music by local performers, modern music concerts, educational and entertaining activities for the young people, seminars and lectures from distinguished speakers and, above all, the chance of wine and food tasting! The concept behind this fair is to highlight and promote the importance of culture, tradition and gastronomy. It is held every summer at the end of July in the National City Park and lasts for about one week.

 

The Renaissance Festival
The city hosts each summer since 1987 a Festival of Renaissance character, followed by an agenda of theater and dance performances, music concerts and visual arts. Throughout the years numerous plays of Cretan and classic ancient Greek artists have been hosted, along with foreign plays by Shakespeare, Moliere, Goldoni and many more. The Festival takes place in the theater area “Erofili” of the Fortress.

 

The Carnival
If you are in Rethymno during winter months then you might be lucky enough to see the biggest Carnival Parade of Crete. During a three-week period several events take place, like treasure hunts for children and adults, various competitions and fancy dress parties. On Shrove Sunday, more than 8000 people participate in the parade and the entire city of Rethymno becomes an enormous street party.

 

Various other events

Events in Chromonastiri
At the beginning of August various cultural events and expositions of local handcrafts take place in the village of Chromonastiri.

Events in Panormos
During the summer, many cultural events are taking place in the village of Panormos.

Events in Anogia
In the middle of August each year a very important cultural festival takes place in the village of Anogia. Visitors have the opportunity to listen to live music with the traditional Cretan lyra by local musicians, taste local delicacies and experience an authentic Cretan feast!


 

Religious Events and Festivities

Feast of Agios Georgios George. The 23rd of April is the day that Agios Georgios is honored with celebrations, open air fairs and feasts in various villages of the entire prefecture.

Feast of Zoodochos Pigi. On Easter Friday various festivals and religious ceremonies are held in honor of Zoodochos Pigi (Source of Life).

Celebration of the Holy Virgin. On the 15th of August, throughout the prefecture as in entire Greece, people celebrate the Holy Virgin Mary with religious ceremonies and huge feasts with food, wine and dances. It is also worth visiting the village Myriokefala on the 8th of September together with hundreds of pilgrims. A miraculous picture of the Virgin Mary is kept in the byzantine church of this village and a huge feast is every year’s tradition.

The feast day of the Holy Cross. It is celebrated on the 14th of September in the village of Axos with a huge feast.

Commemoration of the Arkadi Holocaust. On the 8th of November the entire prefecture commemorates and locals bring flowers to the Monastery of Arkadi, where hundreds of Cretans died in order to avoid surrendering to the Turks.


 


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