Saint Matrona’s festival takes place on October 20 in Finikia and is one of Santorini’s most popular panigiria, as these open air celebrations are called in Greece. Saint Matrona’s church is decorated with palm leaves on the eve of the celebration and the religious icon that depicts the saint is held in a procession around town on the 20th. The alleys are laid with rosemary and rose geranium, festive colorful flags sway in the air and all squares around the church are turned into celebration venues. Locals prepare xelouristo, codfish served with fresh onions, olive oil and boiled potatoes, gamopilafo rice and meat dishes cooked in huge pots and wood-fired ovens.
The celebration begins at seven in the evening, when Saint Matrona’s bells summon people to the festive vesper. Around nine, the panigiri begins with different musical bands performing traditional Greek music. The young and the elderly join forces to dance and sing in a fiesta that lasts until the next morning. And then it is time for morning mass and for the procession of Saint Matrona’s icon.
More Santorini panigiria…
Agios Epiphanios, Akrotiri
Agioi Anargiroi, Megalohori
Prophet Elias, Pyrgos
Agion Epta Pedon, Oia
Metamorphosi Sotiros, Pyrgos
Kimisi Theotokou, Panagia Episkopi
Panagia Kalou, Pori
Agiou Ioannou , Perissa
Panagias Mirtidiotissas, Kamari