Saturday 16 August 2014


The 15th of August, is one of the biggest religious celebrations in Greece after Easter and Christmas.

Dekapentavgoustos, as it's referred to in Greek, is the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, marking the moment when she ascended into Heaven. It's considered a day of celebration, rather than mourning, as the mother was able to join her son.

Strict fasting for a number of days is followed by celebrations, panigyria, fairs, which include fiddle playing, dancing and markets where various wares are sold.

We went to the fair at St Mary's church in Paleon Faliron

no dancing or music here, but lots of stalls selling everything from food to clothes and lots more.

one whole street taken over by the fair


loukoumades, Greek doughnuts, fried on the spot

served with various sauces and sprinkles

lots of people milling about, and everything being sold was very reasonably priced


ikons as one would expect given that it's a religious festival

at 6 euros each


incense burners to be placed in front of the ikon or ikons, depending on how many a household has got





wild oregano and all kinds of other spices and herbs



dried fruit, honey and jams


hardware and tools


kebabs, sausages, pitta breads and fries


a stall from Russia


matryoshka dolls and amber


more loukoumades


a last look at the church before buying a huge basil plant and heading back home.


  1. When I was a child we used to go to Panayia Soumela every 15th August. In those days there was very little in the way of stalls. We used to take our own picnics - cold keftethes etc., wonderful. But I certainly remember the panigyria when each church celebrated its particular saint's day. And I have not thought about loukoumathes since I was about four years old! I do miss the honey (there seems to be a dearth of Greek honey here in the UK this year) and nuts.

    1. Panagyia Soumela is meant to be It for the 15th of August! I don't know much about it as we don't go to church, but from the pictures I've seen it looks quite amazing. It must have been something going there, and as a child you must have really looked forward to the picnics and all the rest. (Coincidentally, we are having keftedes tonight, with mash, just as my mother used to make them. Yum!)

      I love loukoumades, but like them with honey, icing sugar and cinnamon, rather than all those fancy toppings they use nowadays.

  2. My great uncle was involved in the design/building of Panagyia Soumela, so we were treated like royalty when we went there. Indeed, we stayed in the house built for the royal family - but there were so many aunts we were like sardines at siesta time!
    In my day (this is the 50s I'm remembering) you could only have loukoumades with cinnamon and honey - I don't remember even icing sugar. There was a specialist zacharoplasteon in Aristotelous Square just by the Paralea where my godmother would take me of an evening while she hazeve. Then we would collect fresh yaouti with kaimaiki to take home for everyone.

    1. That must have been something. Great memories. I can imagine this big extended family, all getting together ... lovely.... And the trips to the paralea and the zacharoplasteon....

      As for the loukoumathes (I've realised that your spelling is much more accurate than mine) I wonder if it's a regional variation: in Athens, as far as I know, they've always sprinkled equal amounts of icing sugar and cinnamon on top - it must be for aesthetic reasons, I can't see the icing sugar making any difference to the taste, but it looks nice.