Kalymnos Festivals and Customs

In Pothia, the celebration of Easter is combined with a representation concerning the traditional sponge diving that takes place at the square and it is accompanied by discharge of fireworks on the slopes of Saint Savvas and Saint Stefanos.

Every year, the Municipality organizes celebrations under the umbrella of “Cultural Summer”.

The festivity of Agios Panteleimonas takes place on 26th July. In Vathis, there is the festivity in Panagia Kira Psili on 15th August.

At Massouri and, more specifically, in the area of Arginontas, the festivity of Panagia Galatiani is organized on 15th August.

At Panormos, the festivity of Agios Panteleimonas takes place on 27th of July.

At Chorio, during the Carnival, a big barn dance is organized in the yard of the church Panagia Keharitomeni.

Lazarakia of Lazarus

The last two Saturdays of the Great Fast are dedicated to Lazarus. In particular, the first Saturday is dedicated to poor Lazarus and the second one, i.e. the one before the Palm Sunday, is dedicated to rich Lazarus. We cannot be sure about who exactly poor Lazarus was, but we are certain that rich Lazarus is the friend of Jesus Christ, the brother of Martha and Maria. During the two Saturdays dedicated to Lazarus, the housewives of Kalymnos make “lazarakia”. These small breads are made of flour, sugar, sesame paste and herbs. They are filled with raisins and look like a dead body having its arms tied. They symbolize the shrouded Lazarus that was resurrected by Jesus. “Lazarakia” are given to children that sing traditional songs of this celebration. In the morning of the Holy Saturday, children go from one house to another and they sing the song of Lazarus. In exchange, the housewives give them “lazarakia”, eggs or money. The song of Lazarus has many versions.

The current traditional version is the following:

Is tin poli Vithania, /Martha klei and Maria

Lazaro ton aderfo tous/ton gliko ke kardiako tous.

Ton mirologoun ke lene/ton thrinologoun ke klene.

Tris imeres ton thrinousan/ke ton emiriologousan.

Tin imera tin Tetarti,/kinis’o Hristos gia narthi,

Kai evgiken i Maria/ekso apo tin Vithania.

Ke empros tou goni klinei/kai tous podes tou filini.

An edo isoun Hriste mou/den thapethnisk aderfos mou.

Ma ke tora ego pistevo/ke kalotata iksevro

Oti dinas an theliseis/kai nekrous na anastisis.

[Free translation]

In the town Vithania/ Martha and Maria cry for

Their brother Lazarus/their sweet and favorite one.

They bemoan and say/they bemoan and cry.

They were crying for three days/and they were bemoaning.

On Wednesday/Jesus came,

And Maria got out/out of Vithania.

And she kneels in front of him/and she kisses his feet.

If you were here my Jesus/my brother would not have died.

Nevertheless I believe/and I know really well

That you can if you want/ even dead people resurrect.

Diving Festival of Kalymnos

Many people argue that the most important cultural event is the “Diving Festival and Skandalopetra Races of Kalymnos”. It includes a variety of events, such as testing and training in diving using skandalopetra for people of all ages, as well as for people with special needs, skandalopetra races, training in apnea sports, training and certification of judges with international competitions, demonstration of diving methods, tours in specialized museums, scuba and free diving in amazing waters, seminars and competitions of underwater photography.

The ultimate goal of the festival is to show the rich diving history of the island and its considerable contribution to the history and evolution of diving. There is also an attempt to combine all this rich tradition with the current touristic diving and training. In this way, strong incentives are given to amateur and experienced divers of all ages, whether they are involved with free or scuba diving, with the intention of visiting Kalymnos and getting to know the diving heritage of Greece, including anything that is considered state-of-the-art in the field of diving.

Information: Municipal Tourist Office of Kalymnos, tel.: +30 22430 59056, E-mail: mto@kalymnos.gr

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