Each summer more than 60 manifestations and festivals take part on Chalkidiki, making your vacation eventful, unique and special. Beside cultural festivals, locals celebrate many religious holidays in honour of the saints-protectors of villages, so don’t be surprised if you encounter a long line of people taking part in a procession. Greeks are religious people and large number of monasteries, churches and chapels testifies to that.
Religious holidays which are at the same time celebrated as state holidays are: 1st of January–the New Year; 6th of January–the Epiphany; Katara Deftera (Clean Monday) marks the first day of the Eastern lent; 25thof March–the Independence Day, the most important national holiday (on this day in 1821 a war for independence against the Turks started); Easter; 1st of May–Labour Holiday; the Holy Spirit Day – on the 50thday after the Easter; 15th of August–the Holy Mother Assumption; 28th of October– national holiday “OHI”; 24thof December–Christmas Eve (1st day); 25th of December – Christmas (since 1924, Greeks have been celebrating Christmas according to the Julian Calendar).
Simandra near Olinthos, Carneval: The biggest carneval parade on Chalkidiki takes part last Monday in February in Simandra near Olinthos. On that occasion women are dressed in traditional clothes and visitors are offered wine and traditional Greek sausages.
02.05 – N. Olynthos, Polichrono: Folk festival Agh. Athanasiou; 24.05 – Nea Skioni: Folk festival Agh. Triados; 21.05 – Hanioti, Ouranoupolis:Folk festival Konstantinou & Elenis.
An annual Kassandra festival takes part in a large open air theatre in Siviri at the end of June. It is one of the most important festivals on Chalkidiki, boasting of various cultural manifestations. It draws many known artists from Greece and abroad, such as B.B. King, Ray Charles, Nana Mouschouri, N. Kazakos and many other. Apart from concerts and plays, the festival hosts top-class exibitions and nights of culture.
Sani, a summer festival of songs and fun
Sani is a tourist spot that each year between June and September hosts a summer festival of songs and fun. It boasts of the best classical Greek plays performed by famous authors, actors and musicians. The festival takes part in a natural amphitheatre on a hill close to a mediaeval fortress.
6th and 7th of July, Olympiada –Mussel Festival- each year on the Agia Kiriaki holiday a mussel festival takes place: second week of July, Nea Moudania – Sardine Festival: manifestations of culture last for 6 days. The festival ends on Sunday with the sardine festival when grilled sardines and white wine are offered to visitors free of charge. The celebration usually lasts till early morning hours of the following day; 19-23 July, Chalkidiki – Dance Xperience Festival: foreign and Greek performers and DJs during this 5-day festival take young people to a unique journey into the world of music. First festival was organized in 2011, and has immediately become one of the best festivals in Greece. Its location is not known in advance, except that it will take place in some of the camp sites on the coast; last week of July – Nikiti – swimming marathon through Thoroneos bay; it takes place every year in the last week of July. Participants usually come from all around the world to participate in a 26 km long competition that starts in Kalithea and ends on the beach in Nikiti on the Sithonia peninsula; last Monday in July, Nea Roda: the Sardine Festival in Nea Roda, a manifestation similar to that takes place somewhat earlier in Nea Moudania; last three days in July, Olinthos – the Olive Festival: each year, this festival in Olinthos marks the last three days of July. The last day features the concert, and visitors can enjoy tsipuro (a kind of ouso) and olives.
1-30th August, Poligiros: the Traditional Dance Festival, concerts by singers, artists and bends; 15th August: popular folk festivals in many places, some of them in Afitos, Kriopigi, Olimpiada, Paliouri and Sarti.
2-5th September, Agios Mamas: a traditional fair that takes place in front of a church and draws visitors from nearby places. The fair features different manifestations of culture.