My friends are rendered speechless, those who will listen to me at least, when I tell them that the festivals of Mykonos are among the most vibrant in the Aegean. They can’t grasp that behind the ‘lifestyle’ façade of the island lies authenticity and that the people of Mykonos still value their festivals.
Today is not like other days,
it is once a year and the joys are great.
Those with good hearts who are regularly festive
Only they this false world enjoy,
Pretty are the pretty and beautiful are the beautiful
And most beautiful of all is good company.
The religious character of the festivals of Mykonos does not differ much from that of the other Aegean islands. In the days before the feast the churches are whitewashed and decorated with flags, the brass is polished and decorated. On the eve everyone lights candles while the faithful who come by are immersed in the scents of basil and flowers.
Foodwise, the feast begins with a glass of meat broth which lines the stomach in preparation for the copious quantities of wine to be consumed. In winter the festivals are held in a dedicated building with a built-in table and benches while in summer they are held outdoors with portable tables and benches around the church or chapel.
The local musicians, pairs of players, play bagpipes, violins, accordions and other traditional instruments and eat, drink, sing and enjoy themselves along with the rest of the crowd.
There are countless feast days on the island. Sometimes the feast is held on the eve of the saint’s day and at others on the day itself after the liturgy.
There are more than fifty important festivals on Mykonos, of which the following are the best known:
Agios Haralambos under the Windmills, Agia Anna in Myrsini, Agia Anna in Vounia, Agios Panteleimon, Agios Giannis in Ornos, the Virgin Mary of Tourliani, as well as those held on the nearby islets such as Agia Kyriaki on Delos, Agia Triada on Rheneia and the Virgin Mary on Tragonisi.