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Experience the unique atmosphere of "paniyiria"
Submitted by M15390 on 2010-11-22
Throughout my journeys in Greece, I have been extremely lucky to have experienced the unique atmosphere of the great feasts, "Panigiria". People of all ages gather, usually at the main squares of the villages, ... view more and under the uplifting sounds of the local musicians, they eat, drink and dance holding hands, in circles… till dawn.

Since the ancient times all around Greece feasts would take place in order to worship the god of Dionisos (the god of wine and fun). They would free themselves from their daily routine, dance in an intense rhythm of frenzy (at a delirium of joy) and purify their souls.

With the rising of Christianity, Dionysus and this pagan custom were chased and people who participated were persecuted, as all aspects of the ancient religion and mentality were regarded as evil. Over the ancient temples, chapels and churches were built. Pagan celebrations were disguised into Christian ones. However, the spirit or the need of the Greeks to celebrate life never died. The symbol of Dionysus, the grape, is still one of the main symbols that characterize Greece.

The main musical instruments in the islands of the Aegean traditionally are the violin and the laut. In certain panigiria, you can find up to 1,000 people attending.

Nowadays the ancient custom of the panigiri lives on and it could be a one in a lifetime experience for the traveler to Greece. In the islands of the Aegean, there are feasts throughout the year. If you are planning to visit Greece, then I strongly recommend that you plan to attend one during your stay.