Paros Festivals, Events and Celebrations
Welcome to these stories of some of our experiences on Paros.
The Greece Calendar with a whole year of festivals through out Greece is HERE
Let’s start with summer! Autumn, Winter and Spring follow below.
June 23: –St. John the Baptist = Bonfire The first time we heard about this bonfire night, we went to the one in Naousa. Not knowing what to expect, we were amazed that the fire was put in the middle of a concrete bridge that spans a small stream at the port and taverna area. There were lots of people milling around, the fire was being fed more and more wood, making it brighter, hotter and flames shooting higher! Anticipation mounted, but nothing else happening!
After a long while of wondering if this was all that might be happening–the fire was down to nothing but hot embers–we watched the crowd move aside to allow a group of women and children bring dried out May Day wreaths which they tossed onto the fire. They burned rapidly, reducing it once again into hot coals. Then it got exciting…because suddenly, without my realizing it, a young man took a running leap and cleared the fire by mere inches! The crowd roared with approval, which then encouraged a few more athletic youths to give it a try! Clapping, jeering at each other, or words of encouragement to the less brave–the air was filled with flying youngsters, all bravely showing off their leaping skills.
Well, after nearly an hour of that, with the fire rising and falling as late arriving wreaths were thrown in, we watched what appeared to be the local school marm lifting her skirts and leaping with the best of them! Now, that was shocking! But not to the Greeks, because now the air was filled with leaping ladies!
After the fire died down to almost nothing, the tourists wandered off to visit their favourite taverna and continue the festivities with drinks and mezdes while the locals head home for their typical late night dinner.
Another June we went to Aliki’s festival. It is the same, except it is held on the sand of the central beach, and not so many older women jump, but I noticed teenage girls were not to be outdone by the young men!
Also, on the beach there is a long table set up where they serve free suma, cucumbers and small fried fishes to nibble. After a healthy sample of the local drink some of the “adults” join in the jumping as well–more tourists then locals, I think. When all the hoopla settles down, again, the tavernas do a big business with late night diners and ouzo drinkers!
I really enjoy this festival. It seems a fitting end to a dead wreath. Once they adorned the doors of Greek houses, now they have been properly disposed of with a lot of fun involved. I have been told this is a very ancient tradition… building bonfires where young men and young ladies leap over to impress the other sex! I can imagine many a romance has started this way…