Events are organized throughout the whole course of the year by
the Municipality's Cultural & Sports Organization with local
teams and groups participating. They include theatrical works,
book fairs, musical evenings, and dancing with traditional
Human Touch 2013
Over recent years a festival has been established with the name
"In Astypalea for Arts and Culture"
(with two sets of events in
summer and winter) with a range of cultural happenings aimed at
promoting and disseminating culture, reviving customs and
entering residents of and visitors to Astypalea.
Each year as part of the Cultural Festival, photography, book,
cinema and art exhibitions take place.
Detlef Wydra 2013
They are either held in private facilities or in a special
multi-purpose room in the Primary and High School that is also used as a
Human Touch 2013, David Lynch
Folklore feasts and Celebrations
On 2nd February the feast of Panaghia Flevariotissa is the main
winter gathering of the people of Astypalea. It is when they
congregate to celebrate with traditional dances, food and
abundant supplies of wine.
The largest feast on the island takes place on 15th August in
honour of Panaghia Portaitissa lasting from 14th - 16th August.
On the first evening, on the eve of the feast, following vespers
there is a celebration in the grounds of the church. On the
feast day itself outside the church stuffed lamb known as
'lambrianos' is usually cooked. All visitors and friends of the
island are invited and the costs are paid by the Municipality.
On the following day sporting events take place held by the
Municipality and the Cultural Association. These games known as
the "Koukania" include swimming, a game where blindfolded
competitors feed each other yoghurt and 'petino' where a false
cockerel is tied to the end of a wooden pole smeared with
grease. The aim of the game is to see who can reach the cock
first walking over the grease.
On 4th September the icon of the Virgin Portaitissa and the
remains of Blessed Anthimos are paraded around Hora terminating
outside the Town Hall. Following this they are carried to the
house of those celebrating their name day where the house is
then blessed. A party follows. On 8th September Panaghia
Thomiani is celebrated at Vathy where food and wine is served
up. This is followed by traditional dancing. Panaghia Poulariani
is celebrated on 8th September and Aghios Dimitrios on 26th
Aghios Panteleimon is celebrated on 27th July and Christ the
Saviour on 6th August with traditional sweet being prepared.
Customs and lore
In addition to reviving all the local religious feast day
celebrations, a characteristic example of the preservation of
local customs is the traditional wedding on Astypalea. This
begins with the bridal bed being strewn when relatives and
friends of the couple and the whole island call at the
bride-to-be's house with gifts, food and the bed is decked with
money and rice to that the couple can lay down firm roots. Fun
is had until the morning with food and wine being served and the
celebrations end on the wedding day when the bride and groom are
accompanied to the church by local musicians on the violin and
lute who sing praises to the newly weds to a traditional air