Key Dates (2015)

Key dates The following is a brief resume of Greek Bank Holidays and festivals.

JANUARY

New Years Day (1 January 2015). Bank Holiday.

Epiphany (6 January 2015). Bank Holiday.

FEBRUARY

Ash Monday, or 'Clean' Monday (16 February 2015)

MARCH

Independence Day and Festival of the Annunciation (25 March 2015). Bank Holiday. In 1821 the Greeks rose up against the oppressive Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for nearly four hundred years, which culminated with the successful War of Independence. In the Greek Orthodox calendar, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the maiden Mary and announced the news that she was pregnant with the divine child Jesus

APRIL

Easter (Cretes most important religious festival) (3 May 2015). Greek Orthodox Good Friday (Bank Holiday). Symbolic body of Christ is carried from the churches and cathedrals through the streets 3 May 2015 (Greek Orthodox Easter) Saturday evening service, at midnight all lights are extinguished and the Priest appears holding a candle and announces that Christ has risen 5 May 2015 (Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday) The most important day in the Orthodox calendar, traditionally celebrated with lamb roasted on a spit 6 May 2015 (Greek Orthodox Easter Monday) (Bank Holiday)

MAY

Labour Day (Protomayá) or May Day (1 May 2015). Bank Holiday. Cretans tend to leave the major towns, and head back to their respective family villages in the hills

Battle of Crete (27 to 31 May 2015). Commemorates the German invasion of Crete in May 1941. Church services in Hania with ceremonial events

JUNE

Day of the Holy Spirit (12 June 2015). Celebrated in even numbered years during the last week of June to commemorates Crete's relationship with the sea.

Feast of John the Baptist (24 June 2015)

Navy week. Last week of June - celebrated in even numbered years to commemorates Crete's relationship with the sea, therefore not applicable to 2013.

JULY

Vouves wine festival (28 July 2014 - to be confirmed). Street party in the local village of Vouves.

AUGUST

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August 2015). A day of family reunion with Church processions followed by open air eating in the village squares. A celebration regarded as almost important as Easter.

SEPTEMBER

Sardine Festival (1st week in September). Neo Hora beach, to the west of Hania Old Town. Free sardines, village wine, music and traditional dancing.

OCTOBER

Elos Chestnut Festival (20 October 2015 - third Sunday of the month). The village of Elos stages a Chestnut Festival when everyone is offered roast chestnuts, chestnut sweets and copious amounts of tsikoudia

Ochi day (28 October 2015). Bank Holiday. On the 28 October 1940, Italy, with the backing of Hitler, wanted to occupy Mainland Greece. An ultimatum was issued to the Greek General Metaxas on 28 October 1940 by the Italian Ambassador, requesting permission for Italian Forces to enter Greek territory, and occupy a number of strategic locations, or face war with Nazi Germany. Metaxas response was apparently simply "Ochi!" or "No!". This resulted in Italian troops, who were then stationed to the north of Greece, in southern Albania, launching a land invasion of the Greek border, and it was this that marked the start of Greece's participation as an Allied Force in World War 2.

NOVEMBER

Cretan National Day (8 November 2015). Cretan National Day

DECEMBER

Christmas (25 December 2015). Bank Holiday. Not as widely celebrated as Easter. Presents are not given until Paramoni Protochronia (New Year's Eve).

St. Stephen's Day (26 December 2015). Bank Holiday.