Paros, Lefkes, Festival of the Karavola
The Celebration of Karavolas, takes place in Lefkes, the most mountainous and traditional village of Paros, on the first Saturday after August 15th.
The word karavolas is a Parian expression used to describe a large snail. The celebration is an opportunity for Lefkians to celebrate their love for the karavolas. It takes place next to the white townhall of Lefkes, below the pine forest. The preparations begin a week ahead of the celebration with nearly all the villagers, and particularly the young ones, volunteering. It is the village’s most popular celebration for the entertainment, celebratory mood, and dancing that continues into the morning hours to songs and music of Parian performers and it is the way Lefkians celebrate the end of summer.
The food offered includes karavoli, skordalia, ambelofassoula, traditional cheeses, oven-baked chickpeas, and plenty of wine. Lefkes was the island’s first capital. Located below a pine forest and with its houses amphitheatrically built, it spreads across a hill with beautiful passageways, whitewashed wall-joints, the House of Literature, narrow streets with little taverns, shops, and a magnificent view.
In the background, one can see the island of Naxos. The first inhabitants of Lefkes were refugees who came from Crete and Naousa, as well as locals, who built the village in a mountainous region out of fear of pirates. Windmills, many of them restored, are found on the hills around the village. On a hill at one end of the village lies the church of the Holy Trinity with its renowned, recently-renovated bell towers. If you happen to be in Paros at the time, a visit to Lefkes village for the celebration of karavolas is a definite must.