The Year in Greece 2012
Greek Festivals and Commemorations
Greece is a land of surprises. Whether it be the one-day seizure of power by the women, the military parades, with tanks rumbling through the city streets, the sinister masked figures dressed in animal skins and hung about with bells which disturb the winter peace, the ecstatic dances of the fire-walkers, or the sombre and moving rituals of Great (Holy) Week, there is much to be discovered and enjoyed in the religious, military, historical and folk festivals and celebrations of the Greek people.
The traditional carnival characters which roam the streets of northern and central Greece betray many signs of their ancient origins in the rituals of Dionysos, the ancient god of wine and ecstasy.
The national and municipal commemorations which mark the passage of the year in Greece commemorate some of the many high and low points in the violent, and often tragic, recent history of this nation, which has so often found itself a pawn in the hands of foreign powers, to be used in the pursuit of their own strategic interests.
The religious festivities of Greece are famous for their rich and colourful character; whether it be the dramatic ceremonies of Theofania, when young men dive into the sea to retrieve the cross, thrown there by the bishop during the blessing of the waters; the animal sacrifices in northern Greece during the winter, and on Lesbos during the summer; the sombre ritual of Great (Good) Friday with its funeral processions for the dead Christ; the noisy celebrations of the Resurrection at midnight on Easter Day; or the many panayiria, or local celebrations, held in great cities and tiny rustic chapels alike across the country throughout the year.
Greece Holiday Planner for 2012
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