Customs & Feasts in Lesvos

Lesvos is a place full of traditions. Music, dance, feasts and celebrations of the island will awake your senses and travel you to times past. Most of the feast take place to honour the Saints of orthodox church, such as this of Panagia of Agiasos (Holly Mary) which takes place on 15th August and of Taxiarchis of Mandamados which takes place the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women (the second Sunday after orthodox Easter). During these feasts a great number of believers from the island but also from the rest of Greece arrive at the churches to worship the Saints. One of the most famous feasts on the island is the Feast of Bull, which takes place usually end of June early July and lasts four days. It is one of the most interesting proofs of the survival of paganist rituals strongly related to the Christian traditional culture and combines a variety of manifestations such as the feast, the ritual slaughtering of the bull, horse races and the cooking of the traditional kiskek (wheat with meat) served to people. It takes place in the small chapel of Agios Charalambos at the site “Tavros” of the region of Agia Paraskevi, but also in neighbouring villages in different dates. Klidonas is a custom celebrated the eve and the day of celebration of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (24th June). It is an ancient ritual custom of divining character, during which it is said that the names of future husbands of unmarried women are revealed. This celebration coincides with the summer solstice, when in many villages people light fires – Kapsala – in different neighbourhoods using the dried flower wreaths made in 1st May and then they jump over them, reciting verses aiming at their purification. The folklore manifestations of the carnival also present great interest, such as Koudounati (bell bearers) of Mesotopos with elements of Dionysian worship, where men bearing sheep bells wander in the alleys of the village of Mesotopos, and the Carnival of Agiasos with edgy folklore satire in the local dialect and carnival floats parade.