Paros, Festival of The Virgin Mary the Ekatontapiliani
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated with great pomp and in a solemn atmosphere at the church of the Virgin Ekatontapiliani (meaning ‘of a hundred gates’). This famous church, which dates from the 4th century AD, is a magnificent monument of Christianity and one of the greatest early-Christian churches of Greece.
The celebration starts on August 13th and continues into the 14th with liturgy services at the church. The festive atmosphere culminates on the 15th when the procession of the icon of Virgin Mary takes place as it is carried around the streets and lanes of Parikia.
At the same time, many festive events take place all over town. Particularly impressive is the night when the fishing boats converge towards the bay, and night becomes day as fireworks lighten the sky, while traditional music accompanies dance groups along Paros’ coastal road, while the tavernas serve local Parian dishes.
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, lambrokouloura, lazarakia, petimezenia (cookies using petimezi instead of sugar) and skaltsounia as well as the traditional alcoholic beverage souma.