The Feast Day of the Virgin Mary is celebrated in almost every house in Greece, on this day, the 15th of August (Dekapentavgustos). There is a Church honoured in Her name, in every village, island and city.
The Assumption of Virgin Mary is one of the biggest celebrations of the Orthodox Church and it is an official holiday in Greece. This day is celebrated throughout the country and it is called “Summer Easter”.
In almost every Greek home, there is someone named after the Virgin Mary. There are more than 50 names celebrated on Dekapentavgustos including: Maria, Despina, Kristalo, Marios, Panagiotis and many more that can be found on the Greek Name Day Website. It is a special occasion to party with Greek food, dancing, songs, special delicacies and plenty of wine!
Many different customs and traditions are performed in all the Greek cities, Islands, Villages, Monasteries and Churches. Each place has its own story about the Virgin Mary. The island Kefalonia has the most impressive story…
Kefalonia Island~Virgin Mary of the Snakes
In southern Kefalonia, the snakes of the Virgin Mary attract thousands of pilgrims each year, to witness a rare phenomenon. On the 15th of August, small harmless snakes appear in the Church of Panagia of Langouvarda. According to the local legend, the nuns of an old monastery located in this area begged the Virgin Mary to transform them into snakes in order for them not to fall in to the hands of pirates. Since then, the nuns (the snakes) visit the Church in Her honour. During the evening prayer, the snakes move freely in the Church, among people, without fear and without harming anyone. The snakes are said to have the sign of the cross on their heads and their tongues. After August 15 the snakes disappear…
Here is a youtube clip of the snakes of Kefalonia
Do you know someone celebrating today?
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Ioanna Aggelidaki is the Social Media Manager and Contributor of the Greek Weddings and Traditions Blog.
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