Kythnos Festivals and Costums

Europe, Greece, Cyclades, Kythnos, Driopida, balos, danc


Every wedding in Kythnos is an open event where everyone is invited. When the customary rites are followed, the bride and groom come to the church accompanied by musicians (a tsambouna, a lute and a violin player). A feast with dancing, songs and plenty of local wine and food that is cooked by the bride and groom’s families follows the religious ceremony.


The festivities start on Tsiknopempti. In Dryopida, the young people of the settlement wear traditional outfits and dance the local balos dance on the narrow streets of the town. On the same day, many inhabitants of Chora come out onto the streets, in homemade carnival costumes and celebrate to the Dionysian sound of the tsambouna (an ancient wind instrument made of goatskin). On Carnival Sunday, Chora welcomes the “Lazanis”, a man wearing funny clothes and acting as the king of the carnival.

The First Sunday of Lent: The Sunday of Orthodox

The first Sunday of Lent is celebrated in a particularly colorful way in Dryopida. After the church service, there are processions of icons around the streets. All the lights of most of the houses are turned on and their owners offer treats to those participating in the processions.

The Bonfires of Saints Theodore

A spring moveable feast related to the «great bonfire» that is lit on the feast day of Saints Theodore. During the feast, young men and women jump over a burning pile of wood at an open space in order to remain healthy forever.

The Easter Swing

A swing decorated with flowers is set up at the central square of Chora on Easter Monday. Boys and girls wearing traditional outfits take turns on the swing. This custom is also connected to a local legend, according to which, if a boy pushes a girl on the swing and she also does the same for him, then someday these two young people will get married.


The Municipality of Kythnos holds the Kythneia festival every summer (from the end of July till the end of August) on the island. Well-known Greek and foreign artists, theatre groups, dancers and visual artists take part in this festival. You will find detailed information about the festival’s programme of each year on the website

Festivities and Dances

A festivity on Kythnos entails first a church service and then a feast. Make sure you notice the way the older islanders (especially the residents of Dryopida) dance the “balos” and the “Sylakas dance”. Their movements are ethereal and in absolute coordination with the melody of the musical instruments.

The most important festivities of the island are:

-Pentecost (at the church of Agia Triada in Chora): a moveable feast, 50 days after Easter Sunday

– On June 29 at the church of Agioi Apostoloi, in Dryopida

-The Assumption of Mary, on August 15 at the churches of Panagia Nikous, Panagia Stratolatissa, and Panagia Kanala

– The Mother of God of the Life-giving Spring (Zoodochos Pigi), on September 8 at the church of Panagia Flambouriani

– On November 2 at the church of Agioi Akindynoi, in Merihas

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