“The festivals were, in the old days, divided into three parts: first the religious one, with a service in the church and procession of the image, second the recreational one, with instruments, music and dance and third the economic one, as open-air bazaars were set up”, as the professor of Folklore explains of the Department of History and Ethnology of the Democritus University of Thrace, Manolis Varvounis. “The inhabitants of the villages had the opportunity to reorganize their social relations, to conclude agreements. It was yet another opportunity for the two sexes to communicate with each other, to form relationships that most often led to marriages.” And these from a people who are “phileortos”. “The festivals started mainly in the precincts of the chapels, where after the liturgy for the Saints, they would roast lambs and start dancing,” as Stelios Pitsakis, now 85 years old, a “devotee” of the festivals since he was ten years old, tells me. And this “after an all-night vigil in the church, which had been whitewashed, bay leaves had been scattered on its floor and myrtles had decorated the icons”, as scholars note.

Cretans are among the most hospitable people you will meet. They make you feel like you are at home! That’s why there are some golden “rules” which if you follow will make your experience in Crete even more special. Let’s start from the beginning…

Cretans love to treat. It’s one of their ways of pampering you. Don’t deny them. This treat can be anything from a glass of raki to local meat. Accept it with a smile and thank them. They will certainly be much happier than you for getting it.


With so many festivals, you must have already understood that dancing runs in their blood. So when someone suggests you to dance traditional dances, don’t reject the offer. Even if you don’t know the steps (you’ll learn them along the way don’t worry) or if you’re tired of exploring the city, dancing with a local is a different experience that you’ll never forget.

Last tip and perhaps the most important… After festivals they usually serve macaroni and cheese to help the stomach after drinking alcohol. Not only will it make a big difference to your stomach and help you later, but custom says that anyone who refuses this dish leaves with spaghetti in their pockets… We warned you!

The Cretan feasts are a life experience that one should definitely experience at least once in their life. Not only do you observe the manners and customs of a culture through them, but you manage to become a very large company and while you may be strangers among strangers spend a unique evening of happiness, dancing and laughter. So don’t waste a minute! Book your tickets and accommodation now and create memories that will last a lifetime