Customs and traditions in celebration of Panagia

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On August 15th, Greek Orthodox Christians across the world celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Commonly referred to as ‘Panagia’ and ‘Dekapentavgoustos’, meaning ‘August 15th’, Greeks commemorate the death of the Virgin Mary and her ascension into heaven, to be seated at the right hand of the father. The feast day is second only to Easter (Pascha).

On this day, the life of the Panagia is revered and honoured. As a result of this, her feast day is held in great esteem. To celebrate, Greeks all over the world celebrate with cultural activities and festivals.

Who is the Panagia?

Panagia (also spelled Panayia and Panaghia) is a title given to the Virgin Mary, who was Jesus’s mother. In Greek, Panagia actually means “all holy”. This is a title of respect, reserved for the woman who gave birth to Christ.

The Virgin Mary is also referred to as the Theotokos, which means the “Mother of God”. In Greece, people often name places like churches, villages, and even beaches after the Virgin Mary and when they do, they often use the title of Panagia.

How is This Celebrated?

No matter where you are in Greece, you will find people celebrating the Panagia on August 15th. There are special church services held throughout the country, especially in churches that are named after the Panagia.

In Australia, Greek Orthodox Christians attend special church services to celebrate the feast day, with it being very common for people to stay for a feast and dancing.

To wish someone a happy name day on this holiday, you should say, “Kalo Dekapendavgousto!”

Standout celebrations in Greece take place is churches like Panayia Evangelistria on Tinos, the Monastery of Panayia Soumela on Mt. Vermio, and Panayia Ekatontaliliani on Paros Greek island.

Some of the most popular dekapentavgoustos celebrations in Greece are held at the following churches:

  • Agiasotissa of Agiasos on the island of Lesbos
  • Church of the Assumption in Olympos on the island of Karpathos
  • Monastery of Our Lady Spiliani in Nisyros
  • Monastery of the Apocalypse in Patmos
  • Monastery of Panagia tou Harou in Lipsi
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Thassos
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Kaso
  • Monastery of the Virgin of Fidos in Markopoulo on the island of Kefalonia
  • Chapel of the Virgin Mary in Kato Koufonisia
  • Our Lady the Revealed and Our Lady of the Sea in Andros
  • Our Lady of Kremasti in Rhodes,
  • Our Lady in Skiathos
  • Chapel of Our Lady of Kastriani in Tzia
  • Our Lady in Serifo
  • Our Lady in Filoti in Naxos
  • Portaitissa in Astipalaia

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