Hydra Festivals & Cultural Events

Despite its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Hydra features some important traditional events. Of special interest are the various religious festivities that take place on the island.

Religious feasts & festivals

• Easter
Easter celebrations are very impressive in Hydra. On Holy Friday, the most picturesque custom is the litany of the Epitaphios in the small port of Kaminia. At the end of the litany, the Epitaph is immersed into the sea to bless the sea waters. On Easter Sunday, the "burning of Judas" takes place in the port of Hydra, accompanied by many fireworks. The effigy is the size of a real man, and a purse with the 30 silver coins of the betrayal is placed on its left hand. Men dress up as fireship captains for the occasion and shoot at it until it bursts into flames.

• November 14th
The largest religious festival in Hydra takes place on November 14th, on the name day of a local saint, Agios Konstantinos from Hydra.

Other religious celebrations retaining their traditional flavor are the feast of the eight patron saints of the island on June 24th and the panigiri in honor of the Virgin Mary on August 15th.

Cultural events

• Miaoulia Festival
The Miaoulia Festival is an impressive three-day-long celebration held at the end of June to commemorate the burning of the Ottoman fleet by Hydraian sailors during the Greek War of Independence. The festival includes a representation of the naval battle with fireworks, followed by torch and boat races, as well as traditional dancing and music.

• Kountouriotia Festival
This annual event takes place around the end of August in honor of Pavlos Kountouriotis, a Greek admiral during the Balkan Wars and who later became the first and third president of the Second Hellenic Republic. The six-day program comprises guided tours of the local museums, exhibitions, film showings, talks, book presentations and sports events. A memorial service is also held on the 22nd of August.

• Summer Cultural Events
Many events take place in summer around the island of Hydra. These events include theatrical performances, music concerts, art and photo exhibitions, sculpture workshops, and lectures among others. Many of those are organized in open venues or the Verena Foundation of Arts.

• Rebetika Conference
The Rebetika Conference is an annual commemoration of rebetiko music. Musicians and fans of rebetiko songs from all over the world come to the island to attend it, sing, and dance.

• The Carnival
The Carnival of Hydra is tinged with the island’s distinctive features. The parade is led by horsemen, who are followed by the ‘music mule’, a mule carrying a loudspeaker. Then comes the Big Head, a cumbersome, papier-mâché head, whose diameter is about half a meter. The head wears a hat and whoever stands underneath it remains hidden thanks to a long piece of cloth. There is also a Carnival couple, made up of two men. One of them dresses up as a woman, and they often brandish grotesquely phallic vegetables. The parade passes through various streets finishing at Hydra Port.

• The Feast of the Almond Tree
Taking place in February, this custom celebrates the forthcoming arrival of spring. Its central theme is the blooming almond tree, and it involves a woman dressing up as a groom and a man dressing up as a bride. Accompanied by musicians and the local people, they parade through the town streets. In the end, all participants gather under a blossomed almond tree, singing and dancing. This is a revival of the Anthesteria, the annual feast celebrating the rebirth of nature and the god Dionysus.