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Religious Feasts

Religious Feasts, Horse-races, Festivals and Dances

Lesvos owes the preservation of its traditions primarily to its superb coastal and mountain villages, whose geographical isolation, social structure and history has kept them intact for centuries.

Some of the many saints’ day festivals are:

The feast of Ai Yannis (St. John) Klidonas in Sigri on 24 July, during which the villagers light fires in the streets and jump over their cinders.

The festival of the bull in Agia Paraskevi on the last weekend in June or the first weekend in July, and in Pigi on the second weekend in July. The slaughter of a bull is a holdover from pre-Christian sacrifices. This custom has its roots in the 17th century. The festival includes horse-races and the preparation of the traditional kiskeki, a dish of beef and wheat that is boiled in large cauldrons and served to the pilgrims.

The feast of Taxiarchis in Mantamados on the second Sunday after Greek Easter involves the slaughter of an ox and the cooking of kiskeki, followed by prayer and vigil.

The feast of the Virgin Mary on August 15th in Agiassos and Petra. Throngs of pilgrims flock to Agiassos, some of whom arrive on foot and spend the night in the church courtyard.


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