If you happen to be vacationing in Greece today, then you will be experiencing a national holiday that is honored on DekapenteAvgoustos’ (August 15th) each year. This is the most important religious celebration other than Paska (Easter) and Xristouyennia (Christmas) in the whole Greek Orthodox yearly calendar.
It’s a national and religious holiday that marks the death, “falling asleep” or in Greek, “kimisis”, of Mother Mary, known as the Panagia. This is marking the date when she died and joined her son, Christ, in heaven. So it is a festival of celebrating joy and not sorrow. Along with the church services will be a festival night called a panigiri which depending on the island/place, can lasts up to 16 hours of straight dancing, music, and feasting.
Many Greeks take this time to travel back to their home villages or islands. On the celebration feast day of the ‘Dormiton of the Theotokos’ (Mary) the people have a 2 week fast which is broken on August 15th. This tradition was established 1400 years ago.
It is recorded that angels advised Mother Mary, Panagia, of her pending death three days prior to the event. She was transported on her deathbed to the Garden of Gethesmene in Jerusalem where she was buried. However, like her son, only her grave clothes were found in her tomb after three days when Apostle Thomas entered the tomb.
If you happen to be in Tinos, Mount Vermion or Paros you will be witnessing and participating in the most sacred places for this tradition. If you need any help with your vacation plans let us know at Archaeologous.com.