Festivals, Customs in Kefalonia

Kefalonia as all the Greek islands is famous for celebrations and festivals.

It’s been said times and times around that one should spend Easter at least once in a life time in Greece.

Besides Easter, Kefalonia’s festivals include:

  • Carnival
  • Christmas and New Year
  • 25th of March (or the Annunciation of Virgin Mary)
  • May Day
  • 15th of August
  • Celebration of the Holy Cross
  • Bourbourelia
  • Ascension Day
  • Lambadaris
  • The feast of Saint Gerasimos.

Most of the festivals and celebrations in Kefalonia have religious routes. The feast of Saint Gerasimos takes place every August 16th and October 20th. He is the patron saint of the island and he is supposed to cure crazy people. After the became a monk he spent twelve years in the Holy Land and five years in Zakynthos. Then he came to Kefalonia and first five years living in a cave beneath the small hermitage on the hills overlooking Lassi. He later moved to the lush Omala Valley. He founded a monastery where he lived until his death. Each year on August 16th and October 20th his coffin is taken under the old plane tree of the monastery.

Easter is the most spectacular Christian Holy celebration someone should witness. On Good Friday all the churches are decorated with flowers, leaves and petals as the procession of mourners go around the city to bless the houses and the area. On Saturday morning, bay leaves are placed all over the church floor to celebrate Christ’s victory over death, while at midnight the Resurrection is celebrated. Everyone should take the candle with them at home, doing their best to keep the light alive and thus brining home the light of Resurrection, which will bless the house for the entire year. Fireworks and bangers explode, to make the festival complete. The custom is to eat roasted lamb and red-dyed eggs, accompanied by the Easter bread, after 50 days of fasting.

Christmas and New Year are also two of the most beautiful celebrations on the island of Kefalonia. People decorate their houses with branches of red berry and myrtle, while women bake the Christmas Cake, decorated with the sign of cross.

The New Year celebration is very interesting in Argostoli, where people bid farewell to the old year by walking up and down the street and spraying each other with perfume. Meanwhile, bands and choirs sing carols and other traditional songs. People go out in the countryside and pick Father Christmas plant (askinokara). It is hanged over the front of the door and is supposed to protect the house and the family, brining good luck and health. Also people break a pomegranate in front of the house and the number of seeds it contains symbolizes the number of good wishes for the family

Useful links about Festivals and Customs in Kefalonia:

Greece Index