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Off Season Holidays in Skopelos and the Greek islands.

Off season Skopelos and the Greek islands portray a totally different image in most of travellers minds as most of them consider Greece as a Summer destination for their holidays.

The truth is that we have never made an effort to promote and to set out how enjoyable the Greek islands can be during the Winter and early Spring.

In Skopelos as well as all over Greece, there are many religious and other  celebrations, many dating back to ancient Greece, that are worth to be experienced by travellers. With temperatures that are considered mild for most Northern Europeans Off season holidays can be a rewarding travel experience.

Thalpos Holidays offer Off season holidays in Skopelos and following our clients’ request may provide options in Skiathos, Alonissos, the Ionian islands and Mani.

One of the “not to be missed” celebration is the orthodox Easter where visitors are able to experience a range of interesting customs and participate with the locals in what is considered to be Orthodox Church’s most important celebration.

Some years Easter holidays are well into Spring so usually the weather is mild and Sunny and the sea temperature starts to rise up, enough for a swim.
We give you below an Easter calendar to know when the Orthodox Easter is for the following years.

Easter 2013
Orthodox Easter Sunday is May 5, 2013
Western Easter Sunday is March 31, 2013

Easter 2014
Orthodox Easter Sunday is April 20, 2014
Western Easter Sunday is April 20, 2014

Easter 2015
Orthodox Easter is April 12, 2015
Western Easter is April 20, 2015

Easter 2016
Orthodox Easter Sunday is May 1, 2016 
Western Easter Sunday is March 27, 2016 

Easter 2017
Orthodox Easter Sunday is April 16, 2017 
Western Easter Sunday is April 16, 2017 

Easter 2018
Orthodox Easter Sunday is April 8, 2018 
Western Easter Sunday is April 1, 2018 

Carnival in Skopelos

As for 2013 and as Easter Sunday is on May 5th  and for the following years, we are offering to all our guests who book their holidays with us, a traditional Easter lunch with lam on the spit or in the stove, and many authentic Skopelitian and Greek island recipes to excite your taste. Vegetarian  salads and delicacies are abundant.
Please send your enquiries at info@holidayislands.com to find out more details.
We give you below a brief description of the main holiday celebrations by month, for off season Skopelos holidays, which more or less, applies for all Greek islands.


December


After resting up in October and olive picking in November, early December brings a very sociable and festive atmosphere to Skopelos town and the island. As well as the obvious holiday of Christmas itself, many of the biggest Saint Days (name days) fall in December also. This means people are dressing in their Sunday best, going to church and often out visiting and socializing. Christmas here on the island is much less commercialized than elsewhere – but the ambiance is festive with the shops and homes decorated for the season.
Visitors to Skopelos during the Christmas holidays can bring families closer together by enjoying each others company instead partaking in the usual stresses that this time of year brings. One is able to re-discover the real purpose of the season – spending time with family. Some examples of social events a foreign visitor might participate in the annual Christmas parties held by local businesses and the town hall.
Several of the restaurants re-open from December and have live music on weekends throughout the holidays. The warm environs of the indoor cafes and bars are a great place to congregate to meet new people. Some of the locals and foreigners also have a ‘sing-along’ Christmas carol night.


January


The holiday season culminates on the 6th of January, Theofania (Blessing of the Sea Day). This is a special holy day when the priests of the main churches lead all of the congregations in a procession down to the harbour. Here, a small prayer service is held as a cross is thrown into the sea. The sea is blessed to take away the evils and ensure prosperity and safety for the fishermen who make their living from it. A few brave souls then immediately dive into the cold waters to retrieve the prized cross in a friendly competition. The rest of the day is spent with friends and family, often at the local tavernas or country houses.


February-March - Carnival


Many people don’t realize that Greece is nearly as infatuated with Carnival as the Brazilians.
A huge parade in Patras kicks off the holiday Carnival in Skopelos and throughout the country, both large cities and small communities get caught up in the fun and frenzy that is Carnival. The three weeks before ‘lent’ brings about a complete transformation of the people as they dress in crazy costumes and throw parties. The islands have their own unique traditions and one of Skopelos’ most impressive is ‘Trata’ day. This is a totally amusing and wild day where some of the townsfolk dress up as seafarers and carry smoke-spewing bamboo boats throughout the town. Funny and lewd songs are sung and ladies of the neighbourhoods offer special food and drink to the participants. They eventually end up at the town beach to through their boats into the sea signifying vengeances of past pirate invasions. Again there are special parties and dress-up nights at the local clubs and homes.


Easter


If you have never witnessed Easter in Greece and you are at all interested in its culture or are a true Greco-file, this is a holiday that is not to be missed. The holiday begins with ‘Big Week’ and culminates with Big Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday (Pasca). Good Friday begins with each of the village churches decorating the ‘Epitafios’, a symbolic bed where Christ’s body lies, which is elaborately decorated with flowers by the women of each Parish. A friendly rivalry between the parishes exists for the most beautifully adorned. After an evening service the church bells are rung, signalling all of the villagers to gather at the church carrying a simple brown candle which symbolizes the death of Jesus. A candlelit procession begins at the highest church in the town and proceeds down the narrow winding streets, stopping at each of the main churches, thus adding its ‘Epitafios’ and parishioners to the procession. The procession eventually reaches the waterfront only to head back up to the top and complete the circle by returning each parish to its own church. This procession through the town is so beautiful and moving, such a special sight that will not soon be forgotten by any visitor.
In contrast to the fairly sober Friday evening, Saturday nights’ mid-night service brings joy and happiness as the parishioners gather outside of their neighbourhood church. Tonight, they hold a beautifully decorated white candle which symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus. At midnight the bells are rung and the priest pronounces “Christ has Arisen!” He offers the parishioners the “Light of Eternal Life” from the Holy Candle and this flame is then passed from person to person uniting the entire community in celebration. With candles lit, the villagers disperse to carry the holy flame to their homes. Here they make the sign of the cross on the lintel of the front door which is thought to bless the house for the entire year. Then the feast begins with the traditional Easter soup being served, the fireworks and celebrations last until the early hours of the morning. Easter Sunday is usually enjoyed at a beach or country house with roast lamb on the spit.; 
Check out our offers for the Easter Holiday period and take the chance to experience one of the greatest celebrations of the Orthodox Church.

Further to the above account of the main celebrations, Skopelos and the Greek islands are very attractive to independent travellers who seek authenticity and to learn more about the local customs of the places they seek to visit.

We, at Thalpos Holidays, will provide you with all travel arrangements that will help you to make this happening.

Walking SkopelosWalking poppy field

Walking in SkopelosNational holiday celebration