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Paros, Marmara – Pera Panagia Festival
Fourteen kilometers from Parikia, the village Marmara meaning marble, was named after the ancient marble building material that was found there and which has been integrated into the homes and chapels of the village. On entering Marmara, we see the mill and, further on, a traditional cafe offering various delicacies. There are also several old mansions. The double basilica chapel of Pera Panagia is located in the southeastern part of the village. Three arches link the two aisles that are supported by ancient columns. The chapel is built at an idyllic spot, with eucalyptus trees along the paved road leading to its entrance. The chapel’s beautiful marble bell tower is one of the most elaborate on Paros. The iconostasis is wood-carved and gold-plated. The icon of the Virgin Mary of Marmaris is dated to the 17th century but has undergone a major restoration. The celebration of Pera Panagia takes place on September 8th. Residents attend vespers and the Divine Liturgy with religious solemnity. A feast follows the procession of the icon of The Virgin Mary that takes place after the Orthros, (the matins or early morning prayers). Treats are then are offered in the church courtyard. All residents as well as numerous visitors participate with religious solemnity to the festivals of Paros, attending vespers and, following the divine liturgy, contribute in their own way to the feast. Some bring the traditional alcoholic beverage, souma, or wine while others bring pies, revithada, or other delicacies they have prepared before at home. The most famous Parian dishes are the kakavia, gouna (salted sun-dried fish), salatouri, kolokythokeftedes, tomatokeftedes, chickpeas in the oven, ambelofassoula, fava, karavoli, kalfa with skordalia. The cheeses are also exceptional. Xinomizithra, ladotiri, brine cheese, touloumisio and mizithra, combined with paximadi, and kritharokouloures. Housewives make spoon sweet, rafiolia, mizithropitakia (mizithra pie), lambrokouloura, lazarakia, petimezenia (cookies using petimezi instead of sugar) and skaltsounia as well as the traditional alcoholic beverage souma. Photo: zeidoron.blogspot.com