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Sifnos, Vathi – Taxiarchis Festival
The festival of Taxiarhis, one of the most important festivals of Sifnos, takes place in the stunning seaside village of Vathi in southwest Sifnos every September 5th. The venue is the church dedicated to both the Taxiarches and the Annunciation, which dates from the 17th century and is located on the village’s beach. The festivals of Sifnos are centuries’-old traditions and are celebrated on the eve of the day that a church or monastery honours the memory of the saint that it is dedicated to. The picturesque and lively festivals attract many people, who chant and pray – but also cook, eat, drink and celebrate until late into the night in the church’s white-washed courtyards. The host of the festival, called the panigiras, the Sifnos islander who has the honour of keeping the icon of the church in his house for an entire year, returning it on the day of the festival. The panigiras assumes all the expenses of the festival, as well as the care and maintenance of the church. After the liturgy, the worshippers sit around the “tables of love” to taste revithada, olives, kokkinisto with pasta, and cod during the fasting period. They also drink red wine, served in local clay jugs while toasting to the health of the panigiras. The celebrators stay until the break of dawn, dancing, and singing. The next morning, after the liturgy, the next panigiras takes the sacred icon to his home to keep it for the coming year. Photo: e-sifnos.com