One of the most important celebrations and the largest feast on Astypalea is dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. It is celebrated on August 15th, and the festivities last for three days, from August 14 to August 16. They include visiting the church of Panagia Portaitissa, eating traditional meals, listening to music and dancing.
The tradition of Koukania is part of these celebrations and takes place in the area of Pera Gialos on August 16th. It includes various games in which both children and adults can participate. The locals play tug of war, have swimming races and try to feed each other yogurt while blindfolded, among other activities.
The highlight is a game called petino, which literally means rooster. There, a basket with a fake rooster in it hangs from the edge of a wooden pole covered in grease. The pole itself is placed horizontally over the sea, and players have to walk on it and grab the basket. Everyone falls in the water, so the winner is whoever manages to also pull the fake rooster along.