The customs of Karpathos are highlighted in the local fairs and festivities that locals organize throughout the year. The unique characteristic in these celebrations is that the food and wine served to the pilgrims and the visitors is made by the church. The feasts include traditional dances and singing.
Religious feasts & festivals
On 15th of August, the locals celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, one of the largest celebrations in Greece. Many churches around the island celebrate, particularly in Pigadia, Diafani and Olympos. Particularly the celebration in Olympos is very traditional.
On 29th of August, there is a spectacular celebration to honor the feast day of Agios Ioannis. The festival is held in the ancient site of Vourkounda, in the church of Agios Ioannis. It is an overnight festival where locals arrive there one day before the feast. There is a service followed by food, music and dancing.
On 17th of September, locals organize a festival to honor the feast day of Agia Sofia. It is an important day in Karpathos as many women are baptised by that name. Visitors will hear the church bells from the early morning hours meaning that there is a service later on and a feast that begins from the late evening hours.
Karpathos organizes some local cultural events with lots of music, wine and dancing that goes on to till the early morning hours. Through these small festivals, the island aims to highlight its traditional aspects and pass on the old customs to the new generations.
The most important cultural event in Karpathos is the International Tsambouna (Bagpipe) Festival which is held every summer in Pigadia and Olymbos.