Local festivals and celebrations
Easter time and holy week
For the Greek Orthodox Church, the most important Christian festival is Easter. Some of the most beautiful hymns of Eastern religious music are sung during the Holy Week. Judas is a scarecrow made of straw and old clothes, which during the morning of Holy Saturday travels around the village on a donkey, while the people laugh at it and give out “kaltsounia” (cheese-pie) and sweets. The same scarecrow is burned in a big fire at midnight on Holy Saturday, symbolizing the cruel fate of the traitor. At the end of the service the Cultural Society of Vamos serves free food and wine to fellow villagers. This is also the end of the 40 days fast before Easter.
Easter Sunday is the most important moment of the Greek Orthodox Church calendar, a day of joy and fiesta, with lots of wine, dances and songs. The traditional food of the day is lamb on the spit through the whole of Greece, although in Crete very often the lamb is roasted in an oven over the branches of vines.
Celebration of Foudanakia 23 of June
The day of “Klidonas” is celebrated every year on the 23th of June, a day connected with St. John, although it is based on the pagan celebration of the God Apollo, the Zoroastrian adoration of the fire and the longest day of the year. It is a day when divination plays a main role. In accordance with the customs of Crete, on the 23rd the unmarried girls of the village fill a ceramic pot with water and throw in something small called “rizikari”, such as a fruit, a jewel, a key etc. The pot is covered with a red cloth and they open it the next day (the 24th), when one after the other these small things are taken out. A big fiesta comes next with food and wine, while big fires are built from the wreaths made on the first of May and the youngsters jump over them! Every year in Vamos the local Cultural Society organizes the day of “Klidonas” in the small square of “Pitsikounis” in the heart of the village with great success and almost the whole of the village as well as visitors of Vamos will attend.
Panigyria- village fiestas
"Panigyria" are the festivities which can be found around rural Greece, connected with the celebration of a Saint. They have been always a very good opportunity for social life in the villages and there is always live traditional music there. Here are the most important ones in Vamos and the area:
On the 25th of July; the day before the celebration of “Agia Paraskevi” (Holy Friday), Manolis Troulos from Vamos organizes a traditional “panigyri” at the place called “Pigadia”, one of the most beautiful places in Vamos, with lots of food, wine and dancing. The money earned is used for several works which are needed here. It is a must-see!
The day of “Agio Pnevma” (Holy Spirit) is similar to Pentecost in the Western Church. The date depends on Easter, so every year it is different. Is the day when Father Spyros organizes a “panigyri”, with all the fellow villagers attending, with food, wine and dances. The essential food is of course the traditional “pilafi”, rice boiled in the juice of lamb!
The 15th of Augustis the day of the “Koimisis” of the Virgin Mary, one of the most important days
Likotinara and Alikambos. For two days, the 14th and the 15th of August, the whole area is singing and dancing!
The 5th and the 6th of August; the days of the Saviour Jesus, sees the“panigyri” in Xirosterni, one of the most well known and popular in Apokoronas!
On the 29th of August; the day of St. John “Rigologos”, are the “panigyria” of Vafes and Douliana, two of the most picturesque villages of Apokoronas!
Jazz in July festival
The “Jazz in July” festival is a jazz festival which happens every July in Vamos, organized by the “Vamos-Art and thought” company located in Vamos, which organises mainly cultural events. It is a festival of a very high cultural standard, where the most important Greek jazz musicians per-form their music, as well as jazz musicians from abroad. It is one of the few jazz festivals in Greece, which has helped make it well known and popular. And nothing’s better than good jazz music in the warm nights of July!
August summer concerts
Summer is the time of the year when you can find lots of cultural events around the country as well as around Crete. With concerts, theatre and many other cultural events, the visitor has plenty of choices. On our website you will find the most important ones, the ones that we believe uphold and display the cultural facets of the country.
Apokoronas Art Week
This is a project of the Kalamitsi Arts Group (K.A.G.). Every year during the first week of June they organize Arts Week, mainly in Vamos, which features concerts, theatre, exhibitions, poetry evenings, cultural workshops and lots of other activities. Every year you will find the program of Apokoronas Arts Week here https://sites.google.com/a/madeinspoon.com/amygdali/.