St. Symeon's Festival

June 02-05, 2017

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The best getaway for the weekend of the Holy Spirit is a trip to the Greek tradition and history, the festival of St. Symeon in Messolonghi. A festival with great historical, religious and symbolic character that is a benchmark in the few most festivals of Greece. Celebrated twice a year, once in the winter, with a more atmospheric character and once in the summer, during the weekend of the Holy Spirit, where the procession of celebrants crosses the entire city to the sounds of the zurna and the tabor. The festival of St. Symeon has its roots in the heroic exodus of Messolonghi citizens in 1826, in memory of those who managed to reach after the Exodus in the monastery, located at Arakinthos mountain.

 

The events of the festival and the Messolonghi wetlands, the famous lagoon, create an ideal setting for activities such as photography.

 

Noteworthy is the number of visitors and photographers, who have captured the spirit of the festival. Among them are Boissonas, Kostas Balafas, Nikos Ikonomopoulos etc.

 

Watch The Festival of St. Symeon in Messolonghi,

through the show Greek Dromena (by ERT3)

 

Watch the short film 'Dollars for a Saint', by Avra Georgiou

that was shown in the Documentary Festival of Thessaloniki

Friday 02/06

Upon arrival in the Holy City of Messolonghi you will be directed to the hotel, to get settled in your rooms. Then we welcome you and inform you about the area and the program which will follow in the coming days of your trip.

 

Initially, you can start browsing the city's cobblestone streets admiring the architecture of the neoclassical buildings of the last century and the old mansions.

 

Then, can you reach the lagoon, to enjoy the feast of the sunset colours. After dusk, we will go to the "Avant Garde Summer" Bar-Restaurant for a light dinner and to refresh you with our signature cocktails «Discover Messolonghi» a flavour of Messolonghi hospitality.

 

Saturday 03/06

Around 9:30 in the morning, we will start with a tour of the Garden of Heroes, where we will see the monuments of the heroes of the historical Exodus of 1826, as Markos Botsaris and Philhellenes as Lord Byron. Next, we will visit the Municipal Gallery, which houses original paintings and relics of the historical Exodus of 1826, but also of modern Greek history. We will visit the residences-museums of former prime ministers Spyridon and Charilaos Trikoupis and the poet Kostis Palamas. We will turn back in time in the  traditional distillery Trikene Brothers, which was established in Messolonghi in 1901.

 

We will temporarily farewell the city, as we will enter the lagoon area, getting to know the rich wetland on the island of Tourlida. You can swim in the thermal baths of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) or the renewed coast of Tourlida.

 

We will have lunch on the island of Tourlida.

 

The menu includes:

 

Appetizer

Salted anchovies marinated with garlic and parsley /

Steamed mussels with mustard sauce.

 

Salad

Greek salad

 

Main Dish

Fresh seasonal fish from the lagoon (sea bream-bass-pedal mullet) /

Meat of your choice on the grill accompanied with french fries or boiled greens.

 

Drink

2 glasses of wine or 1 glass of Ouzo Trikene

 

Dessert

Dessert of the day (fruits of the season)

 

Relaxation at the hotel and rest of the day at your leisure.

 

At 21:00 the forefeast of the Festival begins with the gathering of people in different places in designated central locations. Thanks to the primordial sounds of zurna and tabor we will enter an atmosphere where money and time have no existence.

 

Around 22:00 we will enjoy our dinner in the "heart" of the festival, at the restaurants of the down town along with the celebrants. In addition, we will admire a dance ritual different from all the others named "the dance of the dead."

 

The menu includes:

 

Appetizer

Salted anchovies from the lagoon marinated in salt, parsley and garlic /

Sardines in the oven with salt flower from Lagoon

Fried shrimp with feta cheese

 

Salad

Greek salad with virgin olive oil of the region /

Season salad

 

Main Dish

Fresh seasonal fish from the lagoon (sea bream-bass-pedal mullet) /

Meat of your choice on the grill accompanied by french fries or boiled greens.

 

Drink

2 glasses of wine or 1 glass of Ouzo Trikene

 

Dessert

Dessert of the day (fruits of the season)

 

Sunday 04/06

From 10:00 as the festival "rests" we recommend an excursion by bus to the village of St. Thomas, where we will find the well preserved Roman baths. Then we move to the ancient city of Plevrona of the 3rd century BC, a few kilometers far from Messolongi. We see the Cyclopean walls, the ancient theater, the tank, the ancient market and other findings. We admire the panoramic views of the lagoon and descend to meet Aetoliko, the most populated island of Europe, connected by two bridges to the mainland Aetolia. The island hosts the only museum dedicated to the art of engraving in Europe, "Engraving Arts Center - Museum of Vaso Katraki". After we walk the narrow streets of Aetoliko, we will arrive at the traditional restaurant ‘Monofthalmos’ to enjoy authentic gastronomic cuisine.

 

The menu includes:

 

Appetizer

Pickled Ligda (small bream) /

Lagoon Eel grilled /

"STEFOS" Appetizer with smoked octopus

 

Salad

Greek salad with virgin olive oil of the region /

Season salad

 

Main Dish

Fresh seasonal fish from the lagoon (sea bream-bass-pedal mullet) /

Meat of your choice on the grill accompanied by fresh fries or boiled greens.

 

Drink

2 glasses of wine or 1 glass of Ouzo Trikene

 

Dessert

Dessert of the day (fruits of the season)

 

Back to the hotel for rest and preparation for the festival of St. Symeon.

 

At 19:30, in the diocese of St. Spyridon, the blessing of the 'Armatoloi' (Armed Men) and 'Kavalaraioi' (Horse Riders) takes place, which comprises the procession through the main streets of Messolonghi to the Garden of Heroes and from there to the historic monastery of St. Symeon. The beginning of the procession is marked by the reception of the "exodus flag."

 

After the procession we move to the heart of the festival, the monastery of St. Symeon. Groups of ‘Armatoloi’ (Armed Men) and ‘Kavalaraioi’ (Horse Riders) become one with the sounds of the zurna and the tabor, offering a unique atmosphere full of dancing and singing.

 

Monday 05/06

At 09:30 we check out of the hotel. At 10:00 we head back to the monastery of St. Symeon for the memorial service for the deceased of the Exodus and the Roma Christenings, where celebrants become godfathers to the Roma children, who support the festival with their music.

 

At 11:30 we have the option of crossing the lagoon with a traditional skiff and arrive at the islands of Tourlida, Vasiladi, Agios Sostis with the Lighthouse and return to Tourlida.

 

After that, a traditional meal awaits us in the Pelada-Hut of Fishermen Cooperative of Klisova (2 hours).

 

The menu includes:

 

Appetizer

Seafood delicacies produced by the local fishermen

Salted anchovies

Grilled eel

 

Salad

Tomato and cucumber

 

Main Dish

Fresh seasonal fish from the lagoon

 

Drink

½ Kg Wine Sotiriou or 1 carafe Ouzo Trikene

 

In the afternoon we welcome celebrants who return from the monastery to the city and end the procession in their hangouts, where they continue the party and throwing countless one dollar bills, under the sound of "zygia."

 

Remarks:

Minimum number of participants is 15 people.

 

The above prices are in Euro per person, including VAT and are valid only for this departure.

 

If the proposed dates or the duration or the travel programme do not meet your expectations, please contact us and one of our colleagues will help you create the trip of your dreams.

 

Available Bank Accounts (for deposits):

NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE (IBAN): GR89 4120 0000 4120 0184 228

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6 Eleftheron Poliorkimenon Street, 30200 Messolonghi, Greece | Tel: +302631025545 | Fax: +302631025545

Email: messolonghi@discovermessolonghi.gr | GNTO Licence: 0413Ε60000086401

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