Throughout the year locals and tourists alike celebrate the island’s traditional festivals. Some are religious, others cultural, but all are joyously celebrated with delicious food, plenty of wine and music.


In addition to major celebrations such as Easter and Christmas, each village celebrates the Saint whom the local church is named after (Panayiria as they are called in Greek) . The celebrations begin with a church service and are followed by a festival with live Greek music and traditional dancing, lots of traditional foods and plenty of ‘souma’ and local wine. Visitors are welcomed with open arms. The festivals take place on their squares or in the churches’ courtyards, the day before the feast or on the day of the feast of the Saint.

Don’t miss the opportunity to join in and celebrate with traditional food and song:

1st JANUARY: New Years Day or Proto Chronia. Traditionally a time to exchange presents. A special cake or Vassilopita is baked containing a coin. Whoever receives the coin is due a year of good luck.

EPIPHANY: On 6 January, youths gather at the ports of the traditional villages of the island, and dive into the frozen Aegean water to get the cross (Stavro). Epiphany is celebrated with fanfare and ceremony in both Parikia and Naoussa.

CARNIVAL: A two-week period of festivities, but especially in the last week, fancy dress, (or masked) parties are held, privately and publicly. A good bet if you want to join in, is always the last weekend of Carnival when just about every bar or cafe will host a “masked party”.The feast begins the the costume parties held at the cafés and bars of the island and climaxes with events hosted by island associations and the village carnivals, the largest of which are the ones in Naoussa, Parikia and Marpissa.

“TSIKNOPEMTI”: This roughly translates as Smokey Thursday. The second Thursday of Carnival, or ten days before Lent, is the last day that red meat is supposed to be eaten before Easter. Barbecues and over indulgence in grilled meats is the order of the day. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to join in with an impromptu street barbecue.

CLEAN MONDAY or “Kathari Deftera”. Similar in theme to the western “Ash Wednesday” and traditionally a day to eat octopus, calamari, taramosalata and the special Clean Monday bread or “Lagana”. If you happen to be on the island on Clean Monday, be sure to visit Aliki and marvel at the flying of the kites. There are both classic kites and handmade ones, that are tradition for the village.

25 MARCH: Greeces National Day. The day is celebrated with fanfare on an island that will never forget the events of the national-liberation struggle of 1821. The celebratory Doxologia mass takes place at Ekatontapiliani, while students participate in parades at all villages on Paros.

GOOD FRIDAY: Throughout the country candlelit processions are held with icons and shrouded biers carried through the streets. The procession in Parika is particularly impressive as thousands of people follow the sacred icons through the tiny streets as it moves from Zoodocho Pigi Church back to The Ekatontapyliani.

HOLY SATURDAY – “Megalo Savato”. Holy Mass followed at Midnight by darkness to symbolise Jesus’ journey through the underworld. This is followed by fireworks and the distribution of the one true flame, symbolising Jesus’ resurrection. Candles are lit from the holy flame and carried back through the streets where they are used to mark a burnt cross above the front door which is supposed to ward off evil spirits. People greet each other with the phrase “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen), to which the reply “Alithos Anesti” is given. The Lenten feast is then broken with dyed red eggs and the special Easter Soup of “Magiritsa” traditionally made from lamb offal. Surprisingly this lung and lettuce soup actually tastes quite good and should you have the opportunity, at least give it a try.

EASTER SUNDAY or “Kyriaki tou Pascha”. PARTY time! Traditionally a whole lamb or goat is roasted on a spit over an open fire. The day is dedicated to feasting, drinking and dancing.

23 APRIL: Festival of Saint Georgios in Agairia.

1 MAY: May Day or Labour Day. A time for picnicking and the making of decorative wreaths from the plethora of wild spring flowers.

8 MAY: Festival of Saint Ioannis Theologos in Drios.

23 JUNE: The day of the well-known Kleidonas festival. It is celebrated with solemnity and fires in Aliki, Naoussa and Prodromos. Music, dance, traditional delicacies and plenty of wine surround the lighting of the bonfire, and the burning of the Mayday wreaths, and the opening of Kleidonas, after which youths and children jump over the fires. According to tradition, this turns away evil spirits.

24 JUNE: Saint Athanasios the Parian in Kostos

30 JUNE: The eve of the festival is celebrated at the monastery of Saint Anargyron, near Parikia.

2 JULY: Notable events and activities at the renowned Fish and Wine Festival in Naoussa.

16 & 17 JULY: The festival of Saint Marina in Kostos

17 JULY: Revival of the “Tsabouna” or bagpipes in Naoussa.

24 JULY: Festival of Saint Anna in Parikia.

26 JULY: Festival of the churches of Saint Panteleimonas in Kostos and Prodromos.

6 AUGUST: Festival of Sotiros in Aliki and Marpissa.

15 AUGUST: Analipsi tis Panagias – Assumption of Mary. The most important festival on the island which marks the Ascension of the Virgin Mary to Heaven. Pilgrims make their way to Paros from all over Greece to pray at the shrine of the Virgin in The Church of a Hundred Doors (Ekatontapyliani). A parade which starts at the Church, pauses at the port where a short speech is given, before the procession makes its way to the towns second biggest church, Zodocho Pigi, halfway down the seafront. Thousands of people then follow the bishops, priests, marching band, civil dignitaries, and generally just about everyone else, back up the tiny market street, passing on the way the three tiny churches of the Agora before ending up at Ekatontapyliani where blessings are given. Then the party really starts. Fishing boats, motor boats, and anyone armed with anything vaguely seaworthy head out into the bay for an altogether more secular kind of celebration. Flares are lit and waved, creating vast clouds of red smoke that drift over towards the assembled hordes of onlookers patiently waiting for the firework display that in recent years has just got better and better. The fireworks are launched from a ferry in the bay and no expense is spared in lighting up the skies in one of the most spectacular firework shows throughout Greece. Be warned though, seafront tables tend to be occupied from very early on so if you are planning on watching from a cafe, bar or restaurant, stake your seat out well ahead of time. With the fireworks out of the way celebrations continue well into the (very) early hours.

23 AUGUST: Naoussa’s turn for a firework display and whilst not on the same scale as the extravaganza in Parikia nine days earlier, well worth a visit, as thousands pack the town’s small harbour and twisty little streets on a day that “celebrates” the invasion in 1537 of the pirate Barbarossa. Young boys dressed in traditional pirate costumes jump from the caiques (fishing boats) and run in the crowd to snatch the girls and take them away in enactment of when the legendary pirate’s men kidnapped the women of Naoussa and the locals engaged in battle to get them back.

27 AUGUST: Festival of Saint Fanourios, with a traditional celebration in Ampelas.

28 & 29 AUGUST: Feast of Saint Ioannis Detis, the monastery in the Environmental & Cultural Park. The celebration takes place in Lefkes.

EARLY SEPTEMBER: Traditional festival with seafood, wine and souma (local spirit) for the Celebration of the Trata (a type of fishing boat) in Parikia.

8 SEPTEMBER: Celebration and feast of Panagia Faneromini church in Marmara.

14 SEPTEMBER: Festival to celebrate the Ypsoseos tou Timiou Stavrou (Exaltation of the Holy Cross). A celebratory Divine Liturgy is held in the courtyard of the church in Agairia, and traditional delicacies are offered. Traditional dances and songs from various regions in Greece are presented that night in Aliki.

28 OCTOBER: Ochi Day. On this day in 1940 Mussolini issued an ultimatum to Greece’s prime minister Metaxas, demanding the free movement of Italian troops within Greece. Metaxas famously responded ‘Ochi” or no. His reply led to battle and the subsequent defeat of the Italian army in 1940. Ochi Day is celebrated with remembrance services, military parades, folk dancing, and this being Paros, much feasting.

25 NOVEMBER: The feast of Saint Aikaterini is solemnly celebrated in Lefkes. The Divine Liturgy takes place at the church in the morning, followed by the procession of the icon through the streets of the village. 25 November is also a memorial day for the Resistance of the Greeks against conquerers.

25 DECEMBER: Christougena – Christmas Day. Whilst less important than Easter in Greece this is still a day for religious services and feasting.

Nowadays Christmas throughout Greece has been influenced heavily by Western traditions and everywhere you will find strings of lights and Christmas decorations, although, no doubt due to Greece’s close relationship with the sea, often boats, not trees are the centrepoint of Christmas decorations. During the Christmas period children sing carols and are rewarded with small gifts of money.