There are many local festivals or 'paniyiris' during the summer in Greece, but I can only speak for Corfu. Most of the villages in Corfu have a festival in the summer, particularly July and August, though there are some in June and
September. "The Corfiot" newspaper lists the major ones, but there are many others that only the locals know about. Just ask around.
They are well worth a visit, providing you can find your way there and back - especially after all the eating and drinking! It is a bit like the old fairs that we used to have here in the U.K. Everyone is out for an enjoyable time, meeting friends and neighbours, relatives and being 'seen'. You would be amazed to find the young waiters who have only just served your meal at a local Taverna, later dancing in a circle with family and friends, or the lady that does the cleaning in your villa, with her
generation, clicking her heels in time to the music! All are welcome. Normally you will hear a live band, upwards of five members, playing local tunes, mainly Kalamaniatos and Rouga dances. Do not worry, if you watch for ten minutes or so you will soon understand the basic rhythm. Just join in when you feel a kindred spirit going by. You will be welcomed and encouraged - just watch out for the line of locals flying along to their own intricate steps that they have perfected together over many years. Even the children put us
all to shame!
Each village has at least one 'paniyiri' per year. In the case of Agni it is at Gimari, often held on the coastal road just above Kouloura; quite a famous one I am informed; (although none can match those of our mountain village events, Lafki and Strinilas, at the end of July through the first week in August; they are the peak of the mountain in all senses.) The Strinilas / Pantokratoros festival lasts for almost a week, with pilgrimages to the monastery at the top, culminating in at least
two nights of late night dancing. Held around the 6th and 7th of August. The Lafki 'paniyiri' is on the 25th of July with singing and cantenades, and on the 26th with dancing. Both dates have the usual food and drink available!
So, it is a family event, put the children to bed in the afternoon for an essential siesta, it is going to be a late night! Search out what those of us who have been hooked on Corfu for more than 20 years really come back for, not just the warm sea, sand and tavernas - no the real Greek way of life!
Thanks to Bob and Wendy our Greek correspondents from Lafki for writing this report.
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Loustri Pie festival
The 'Pie festival' in Loustri - just above Agni
Bay, starts at 8pm on the 1st of September each year. The local Baker and many locals (including Taverna
Agni) donate huge pies or Pittas as the locals call them.
Pittas are layers
of vegetables - finely chopped, and filo pastry. These layers are built up to
create the pitta. At the festival there is live music and local wine. All are invited. Later in the evening the dancing starts.
It is exhausting!
The 10th of March was clean
Monday (2003). Most locals headed for the beach. Expect picnics, dancing, homemade
wine, football! and even kite flying - all in the name of a religious
celebration of course! Basically a fast of no meat (or dairy products) until
Easter - most Greeks only do this for the one day though.
We invaded 'Saint Spiridon
Beach' (yes the one near the infamous Blue Bay Escape) - along with 5000
flying is hugely popular. Our friends from Kouloura had a kite that lifted
you off the ground - it was great fun!