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Olympos, Festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

August 15

women dressed with folklore cloths participate at the festival of the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary at Olympos, Greece

Olympos is considered by many as being a live folklore museum – and they are right. In which other villages of Greece do the locals wear their traditional costumes, talk in the local dialect and create elaborate woven pieces and wood carvings? Olympos is undoubtedly a unique village and one of the most beautiful in Greece, which, together with the other villages of Karpathos, preserves and evolves the popular culture of the island.

People sitting outside at entrance of the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary and commemorate festival of her birth at Olympos, Greece

The festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a pinnacle of devoutness. In this place, the religious services are deeply connected with the mourning that characterizes this conjuncture for Christianity.

The culmination of this traditional celebration is the dance that takes place in the small square, in front of the church of Panagia (Virgin Mary), with the organ players playing the Lower Dance, slow-moving and sombre. Initially, the men, sitting at the table and with leaves of basil on their lapel, sing and drink, accompanied by lute and lyre. As darkness falls, the dance begins, in which women slowly enter, dressed in their traditional festive costumes of astonishing beauty and splendor. The dance is slow and always with a steady pace and a religiously devout mood, lasts for hours. The whole atmosphere is one of the most beautiful that the believer can experience at the festivals of the Aegean. Tradition on the island is a living reality.

The Karpathos feasts bring the folk songs of Karpathos to life but also present the poetic talent of the Karpathians with their impromptu mantinades, short songs that express pain or joy, depending on the occasion. One can attend such festivities with their traditional food and local musical instruments – and traditional hospitality. All visitors are welcome, while the island is flooded with the fragrance of freshly-baked sourdough bread, xerotigana, stifado, macarounes, and other local delicacies.


August 15


Festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Karpathos, Olympos
Karpathos, Olympos, Aegean Islands Greece
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