Local festivals on Rhodes
The following is a brief summary of the local festivals which are celebrated all over Greece. In addition that most of the names are of religious origin, every village has at least on Church festival per year, celebrating the name day of its particular saint, with lots of wine, ouzo and delicious food.
APRIL - 23.04 Afandou and Kritinia , Agios Thomas ( near Mesanagros ) always the Sunday after Easter
MAY - 05.05 Koskinou and Lachania, 22.05. The Monastery Thari
JUNE - 29.06 The churches in Haraki and Lindos are celebrating
JULY - 17.07. Paradisi, 20.07 Salakos and Profiti Ilias, 27.07 Siana and Katavia.
AUGUST - 06.08 Maritsa and Kiotari, 15.08 Kremasti and Embona
SEPTEMBER - 08.09 Tsambika, Psinthos and the monastery of Skiadi
NOVEMBER - 07.11. Archangelos and Panormitis on
Easter on Rhodes:
The christian symbolism of Easter was first underlined by
the Apostle Paul. When the Christians began to celebrate Easter, they retained
some of the features of the Jewish Passover, while at the same time adding
others. This can be seen from the paschal lamb and the red eggs.
In Byzantine times, it was the custom to bake ring-breads with a red egg in the
middle. The egg, is a symbol of life, while red is the color of life.
The dyeing of eggs for religious purposes is a practice, which is encountered in
many parts of the world. Before Easter, there is a 50 day fasting period.
Easter begins on the Saturday of Lazarus (the Saturday before Palm Sunday) with
children going from door to door singing the hymn of "Lazaros" and
collecting money and eggs.
On the morning of Palm Sunday people gather in church and are given a cross made
from palm fronds, which they put on their icon-stands at home and keep it for
the whole of the coming year.
Every evening throughout Holly Week, people gather in church to follow with
devoutness the Passion of Christ.
On Holy Tuesday, housewives make sweet rolls the koulourakia and the following
day they do the housework, while in the evening they follow the blessing of
Holly Oil that takes place in church.
Holy Thursday is the day for dyeing egg. In the evening, after the reading of
the 12 Gospel, the girls undertake the decoration of the bier of Christ (epitaphios)
with garlands of white and purple flowers, so that in the morning of Good Friday
it is ready to receive the image of the body of Christ when He is taken down
from the cross.
Good Friday is a day of mourning. The drama of the death of Christ is followed
with great devoutness. Sweet things are not eaten-for the love of Christ, who
was given vinegar to drink. Soup made with sesame-paste, lettuce or lentils with
vinegar is the food eaten on this day. It is considered a great sin to work with
a hammer or nails or sew on Good Friday.
Vesper evening on Good Friday, is followed by the procession of the bier (representing
Christ's funeral). A band or choir playing or singing solemn music precedes the
procession; they are followed by the cantors, the clergy, women bearing myrrh,
the altar boys carrying the liturgical fans, scouts and guides, and the people
of the region, who sing the hymns throughout the procession. All along its
route, people scatter flowers and perfumes on the epitaphios (bier), holding
lighted candles in their hands.
On Holy Saturday evening, the Resurrection mass takes place. At midnight the
ceremony of lighting of candles is the most significant moment of the year.
People, carefully, take home their lighted candles with the holly light of the
Resurrection. Before entering their houses they make a cross with the smoke of
the candle on top of the door, they light the oil candle before their icon-stand,
and try to keep this light burning throughout the year.
The Lenten fast ends on Easter Sunday with the cracking of red-dyed eggs and an
outdoor feast of roast lamb followed by dancing.