Summer Light & Sound Shows on the Acropolis
If you are in Athens between April and October, and most visitors usually are, then you are fortunate enough to have the chance to catch one of the summer light and sound shows on the Acropolis. Every evening during this period hundreds of floodlights are directed at the hill and the Parthenon. As well as the lights you will receive a commentary in English detailing Athens’s eventful history. While the Acropolis is impressive at the best of times, this is a particularly good time to see it as it is truly spectacular.
Theatre is still very popular in Greece. Athens alone has almost fifty permanent theatres where you will see every time of drama you can possibly imagine. In summer, there are some performances in English but at most other times of the year, the performances are almost entirely in Greek. Of course, they are still enjoyable in their originality. But it is at the various summer festivals that you will get to see the classics performed with exceptional enthusiasm and talent. The best-known festival is the Epidaurus Festival. The picturesque setting in an ancient amphitheatere makes the shows at this celebration of theatre really special. There are also performances in some of the other ancient theatres at Dodona, Thassos and Phillipi.
Greece’s biggest rock festival takes place for two days in July and takes over the capital while it’s on. Thousands of young, and not so young, avid fans make their way to the city to immerse themselves in the atmosphere which Rockwave creates. Attracting leading international bands, the event has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 1996 and if you are in the region, it is well worth checking out. The fact that it takes place in glorious sunshine should be welcome to any of you who have ever attended any of Europe’s outdoor concerts in the rain, not a pretty sight.
Traditional Greek Dance Festival
From the beginning of May to the end of the September you can experience true, down to earth Greek culture in the form of the country’s native music and dance. If you make your way to the Hill of Philopappou you your thousand or so fellow spectators will be enthralled by this unique display of Greek culture. The performers dressed in the traditional costume worn for this particular form of entertainment perform songs and dances which have been in existence for up to two and half thousand years. Not your every day stuff but can you see people doing the Macarena in two thousand years time. Didn’t think so.
October 28th is one of Greece’s public holiday and commemorates the day that Mussolini’s request to allow Italian troops into the country at the beginning of World War II was refused. In memory of this significant day in Greece’s history, celebrations take place all over the country with lavish parades of soldiers, tanks and armoured vehicles showing their spirit and pride and the resistance that will exist for the generations to come. It is a unique manifestation of Greek pride an is a must see for visitors in the country at the time.
Easter Celebrations, Corfu
Greece is renowned all over the world for its unusual Easter celebrations and the island of Corfu is where you will find the pick of the festivals. The best bands in Greece entertain the residents and visitors, the mummy of the island’s patron saint, Spryidon, is paraded through the island’s capital and locals throw clay pots out of their windows. All pretty normal if you happen to be one of the residents but slightly bizarre and scary if you’re not. Apparently the tradition arose as a result of writings in the Bible where people promised to smash all their pottery if Jesus rose from the dead. The only people in the world to carry out the promise were those living on Corfu, and so the tradition has remained.
Regardless of how much energy you burn up during your days in Greece, it’s imperative that you reserve some for your nights. For any of you fortunate enough to visit the country, it is worth noting that every part from the big cities to the little islands has a very vibrant social scene. On the latter, the atmosphere is superb as quite a lot of the time you’re sampling the local beverages in open air under the stars – just watch out for the mosquitos. Idyllic! In the larger cities, the club scene is one of the best in Europe. So, whether it’s a quiet drink with a close friend or a noisy one with fifteen close friends, all desires are catered for.