Religious and Cultural Festivals
The major religious and cultural festivals in Ios which take place over the summer are:
- First 2 weekends in May – Festival of Homeria lasts for 3 days and is celebrated in honour of Homer, the legendary poet who composed Iliad Odyssey, and is supposed to be buried on the island. It is the biggest cultural event in Ios. There are many concerts and theatre performances at the Odysseas Elytis Amphitheatre as well as sports events, lectures, dances, exhibitions and workshops. On the 15th May, a flame is also carried from the port to his supposed tomb at Plakoto. Homeria has received worldwide recognition from UNESCO since 1998 for its role in conserving Greek natonal and cultural identity.
- 24th June – Festival of Pyrgos, the highest peak on the island, on the site of the Byzantine church of Ayios Ioannis.
- 29th August – There are 2 festivals – one at the Kalamos Monastery and one on the beach at Psathi. Both are devoted to Saint Ioannis (Saint John the Baptist).
- 8th September – There are 2 festivals – one on the beach at Agia Theodoti and one at the little church of the Panayia Paliokastritissa at Paleokastro. Both are devoted to the Virgin Mary.
The festivals normally start the day before. Each one has live music, eating, drinking and dancing. Food is offered at all of the festivals, there is a great atmosphere and it’s the best way to experience the real culture and traditions of Ios. In addition to the festivals listed above, each one of the 365 churches on Ios celebrates its feast day once a year.