Mykonos in Greece is one of the islands I’ve always wanted to visit, not least because it inspired one of my favourite songs, ‘Mykonos’ by Fleet Foxes.
As a small island with a long history, Mykonos has built up many traditions and celebrates various events and festivals each year. Many are religious in nature and are celebrated in a similar way throughout Greece while others are more unique to Mykonos and offer you a sight that not many people get to see if you are on the island at the right time.
Probably the most important event for the inhabitants of Mykonos are the Easter celebrations which usually take place in the earliest part of the season so are only witnessed by a small number of visitors. On the Friday before Easter, local women singing religious songs on the streets while moving from one church to another followed by a large crowd. The next evening, a candlelit vigil is held at many of the island’s religious establishments and on Easter Sunday itself, after the ceremonies and worship, it is traditional to eat roast lamb.church
As Greeks are Orthodox Christians, you may have trouble joining in the ceremonies but some churches welcome tourists; you can also find restaurants that will serve the traditional dishes of the day to the few tourists that want to participate in some small way which include sour cheese and louza, local products, onion pie, meat balls, little fried livers and red eggs.
The Mykonos Carnival
The carnival period in Mykonos lasts three weeks, ending on the first day of Lent. It offers a great chance for all concerned to dress up and have a great time and is enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. It culminates in a parade through the streets with many of the floats being satirical representations of events from the year gone by. This is one of the most fun times to be on the island and with the colourful costumes and dancing in the street, you are sure to have a day to remember.
Greek Independence Day
On the 25 March each year, celebrations take place all over Greece to commemorate the gaining of independence after centuries of foreign rule. The Turks had occupied the country for 400 years and before that a host of other nations had control over Greece dating back to ancient times.
This day is the Greek equivalent to the 4th of July in America and it is celebrated across the country with marches and festivities. Many places close on this day but if you do find a restaurant open and want to join in, the traditional Independence day dish is fried bakaliaro (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce).
The day of the Panagia (Virgin Mary)
This day is special on Mykonos and the rest of the country as it is the second most important religious holiday after Easter. It is celebrated on August 15th so if your holiday corresponds to this date, book your lodgings early as hotels in Mykonos are often booked out for this time of year. Local churches will hold religious services that will include dancing and traditional food, with the celebrations continuing through the night until dawn.
Auron Renius is a time served history and travel writer who specialises in writing about anything from religious holidays to what it’s like to stay in the hotels in mykonos.