Most of the islands are famous for the festivals that are unforgettable for the visitors. The truth, however, is that Mykonos is not known for its festivals and if you tell anyone that on the island you have the opportunity to go to traditional festivals, they may doubt you, as they have in mind a completely different style of entertainment. And yet, the festivals in Mykonos are not only famous, but a must for the locals who would not miss them for anything.
A visit to the beautiful Mykonos and specifically to one of its most famous festivals will excite you. And this is because the festivals here have organization, passion and great participation of people. So, be prepared for an unforgettable experience, as you are going to find yourself in front of an unexpected surprise with partying and dancing that you will remember for a long time.
As in most cases, festivals have to do with religious holidays and in Mykonos they are not much different from the other Cycladic islands. For the people of Mykonos and the islanders in general, festivals are a way of life, directly connected with their traditions and temperament.
The great feasts of Christianity are celebrated with splendor and the traditions of the past are revived.
Most festivals, of course, are accompanied by food and dance, like the syrtos, ballos and ballaristos, elements that compose a unique atmosphere that is the ultimate island experience. Many times the party lasts until the morning.
In fact, the festivals of Mykonos are countless and take place sometimes on the eve of the feast day of the Saint and other times on the same day after the service. The churches on the eve of the feast day are whitewashed and decorated, while all the candles are lit, creating a beautiful atmosphere. At the same time, you can feel the scents of the flowers and basil ‘enveloping’ you.
And since there is no festival without food and wine, at the festivals of Mykonos, especially the wine flows abundantly. The predominant dish is boiled lamb with the juices coming out of the tender meant, with plenty of lemon. Of course, the local traditional onion pies, the kopanisti and the louza could not be missing from the menu. The musicians of Mykonos are usually called ‘zygies’ and are a couple of musicians, mostly the ones playing the tsampouna. In addition to those playing the tsampouna, there are musicians with violins, lutes, santouri, accordions, and all together sing and party with the guests.
The most famous festivals of the island in the summer
Of course, when you are not a local but a visitor, you do not have the opportunity to go to all the festivals. However, you can note the most important festivals of the island to keep in mind when you decide to visit Mykonos:
Feast of the Virgin Mary in Tragonisi – The Church of the Virgin Mary celebrates the day of Saints Barnabas and Bartholomew, on 11 June. You climb up difficult slopes and after a half hour walk you will see the small church. After the service, the feast takes place in a cavernous hollow in the rocks, with food, wine and merrymaking, in which by the way only men are allowed.
30 June of the Apostles (Feast of the Fishermen)
7 June of Saint Kyriaki in Delos – This is the best preserved ancient city in Greece. No one is allowed to stay on the island in the afternoon, except on this day. Saint Kyriaki is a small church built in the 19th century for the religious needs of the workers at the archaeological sites. It is located on the East coast, just across from Mykonos. There is an evening service with blessing of the bread and then a feast with food and drink.
26 July of Saint Paraskevi
27 July of Saint Panteleimon – It takes place in Marathi, in the medieval monastery of the area.
15 August of Panagia Tourliani – On the day of the Assumption of Mary, on 15 August, at Ano Mera the festival takes place in front of the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani.
According to recent statements by the Minister for Development and Investment, Adonis Georgiadis, festivals will take place in July in some regional units.