There is an old saying: Santorini has more churches than houses and more wine than water…
The most important festivals are:
Santorini Jazz Festival
The Santorini Jazz Festival takes place in July, in the heart of the summer and attracts the lovers of Jazz music. Famous performers from the Greek or international scene will entertain you with their jazz rhythms.
Megaron Gyzi Festival
The Festival of Megaron Gyzi takes place the first three weeks of August in Gyzi Cultural Centre in Fira. It includes various events, mostly musical concerts of jazz and classical music and art exhibitions.
The August Ifaisteia Festival (meaning the Greek Volcano festival) is among the most attended events in the city. It is celebrated annually and involves a representation of the eruption of the island’s volcano with fireworks and a series of interesting events, concerts and dance performances.
International Music Festival
The International Music Festival welcomes artists from the international music scene to perform for two weeks in Fira, during September.
Regarding the religious feasts of Santorini, locals tend to organize them with a great love for tradition and faith. Usually, for these festivities, preparations start some days before the feast day, including cooking and decoration of the church. Every village has its own patron saint which is celebrated with passion with various ceremonies and church services. In Easter or on the feast day of Holy Virgin, the ceremony is very touching where local light candles and a procession takes place around the settlements of Santorini.
Easter in Santorini is celebrated with solemn and glory. It is the most popular celebration of the year throughout Greece, but Santorini adds it’s own traditional customs making it even more spectacular. Preparations for Easter include white-washing the houses and yards, decorating the churches with flowers and cooking various delicacies, in particulkar tsourekia (brioches), and ‘melitinia’, which is the traditional Easter pastry of Santorini.
In Megalochori, islanders organise a great feast on the Saturday of Lazarus at the central square, and a huge cross, about 12m high, is decorated with hundreds of flowers.
Of major interest is the Holy Week in Oia, where various services are held at the picturesque church of Panagia Platsani.
In all villages of the island, there is a procession of the epitaph on Holy Friday. The epitaph is decorated with flowers and makes the round of the village. Pyrgos is delightful. Small cans with lights are set along the streets where the epitaph passes making for a wonderful atmosphere. In Fira, the two epitaphs meet in the central square. The beautifully preserved white streets are packed with locals holding lighted candles.
On Holy Sunday, people go to the church at midnight to get to Holy Light, and a massive display of fireworks explode in the sky signaling and celebrating the Resurrection of Christ.
Other religious celebrations are:
2nd, the feast of Ypapantis is celebrated in Oia, Fira and Vothonas
5th, the feast of Agia Irini in Messaria
12th, the feast of Agios Epifaneios in Akrotiri
29th, the feast of Agia Theodosia in Fira and Akrotiri
1th, the feast day of Agioi Anargyroi in Megalochori
9th, the feast of Agios Pagratios in Kamari
20th, the feast day of Profitis Ilias in Fira village and Pyrgos’ monastery
24th, the feast day of Agios Ioannis in Monolithos
6th, the feast day of Transfiguration of Christ in Akrotiri and Emporeio
15th, one of the most important days of the Orthodox Church, the feast day of the Diocese of Virgin Mary is celebrated in Akrotiri, Karterados, Mesa Vouno and other places on the island
29th, the feast of Agios Ioannis in Perissa and Imerovigli
8th, the feast day of Panagia Katefiani in Perissa
14th, the feast day of the Holy Cross in Perissa
21th, the feast day of Panagias Giatrissas on Thirassia island
24th, the feast day of Panagia Myrtidiotissa in Kamari
22th, the feast day of Agios Averkios, patron of wine, is celebrated in Emporeio
26th, the feast day of Agios Dimitrios in Messaria
13th, the feast day of Agios Efstratios in Vourvoulos