The word “panigiri” describes a local festival the locals of an island organise in the courtyard of a church on the eve of the day the church’s saint is celebrated.
An event you should never miss
“Panigiria” have been around for centuries and it is an occasion for islanders to feast long into the night. Sometimes pilgrims may walk for hours to reach the white washed church and attend the festival. So in essence, the pleasure begins when one sets foot on the path to the church, as by walking you get the chance to take in unbelievable vistas of the sea and the landscape as well as take in the smells of the wild herbs along the way.
The host of the festival is the “panigiras”, a local who has the honour to have the icon of the celebrated saint at home for a whole year and bring it back to the church on the day of the “panigiri” to be blessed during the liturgy. When the mass is over, the pilgrims sit down around the “tables of love” to taste soup, olives, meat with tomato sauce and pasta, cod and drink lots of wine toasting the “panigiras”. Afterwards people will dance and sing until the early morning hours. The following morning the next “panigiras” will take the holy icon to his home to keep for one more year.