The 15th of August or ‘Dekapedavgoustos’ is one of the most famous holidays in Greece. It is dedicated to the ‘Demortion of Virgin Maria’ (Panagia). In Greece Mother Maria is a very important religious figure in the Orthodox Church. Lots of churches are named after her. One of the most important ones is the Church of the ‘Megalochari’ (Great Grace) in Tinos.
The 15th of August is celebrated with ‘panigiria’ (festivals) countrywide. This day is a national holiday, no one in the country works and all the people named ‘Maria’ and ‘Panagiotis’ celebrate their onomastic day with family and friends. In Greece lots of people are named Maria and Panagiotis as there is a tradition of children having the same name as their grandfather or grandmother. In this way lots of names are repeated in the family under which also Maria and Panagiotis.
After Christmas and Easter, the 15the of August is the most important holiday in Greece. A day on which lots of Greeks go to church, enjoy good company and food during the day and end up eating ‘souvlaki’, drinking wine, ouzo, raki or cold beer at a ‘panigiri’ and even dancing traditional dances!