Culture and traditions

There is hardly any visitor capable of resisting the lure of the numerous cultural events in Leros (concerts, thespian representations, maritime races, conferences, painting exhibitions etc.) not to mention the various local feasts featuring indigenous music and dance groups and hosted every summer in Platanos, Panteli ,Lakki and Alinda, under the auspices of the Municipality of Leros and the Cultural Development Society, in conjunction with local agencies. Moreover, within the first ten days of August, Leros is hosting the marine races, a yearly event inaugurated in 1907.


Among the traditional folk festivals organized in Leros each year, there stem out the Carnival, the feast of Kleidonas and the Wine Festival. The Carnival is staged by the Municipal Authorities, an event open to whoever wishes to participate. Disguised in bright-colored costumes and masques – locally referred to as “camouseles” – people wanders through the narrow streets, singing and dancing.
True to the spirit of the season, children of the island, also disguised in minuscule monks, go from door to door, reciting self-made verses of satirical content. The culture and traditions of Leros island are in general similar to the Greek Islands and the Greek mainland traditions. From the old times the ceremonies which used to gather Greeks together were the religious celebrations and marriages. This is the same in Leros with the two main religious celebrations being Easter and the Assumption of Maria on August 15th.

Easter in Leros

During the Easter week, the Lerian house is a ‘work factory’ of preparation for the Greek housewife. Biscuits, cakes, cheese pies, hard boiled eggs coloured with the traditional red dye – all prepared for the great day of Saturday and Sunday, the Resurrection Day. This feasting is the culmination of the holy week of fasting. During the Easter week the children of the Island go to the countryside collecting lavender to spread over the streets of the main square of Platanos where the four parishes of the city gather on Good Friday night to carry the Epitaph (the Arch carrying the icon of Jesus) through the surrounding neighbourhoods. The next morning, the Lerian people celebrate the first resurrection and take their first communion after fasting. The main celebration comes at midnight when the whole island congregates at the churches to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, letting off firecrackers and burning the effigy of Judas. At the end of the religious service, people enter the churches to light their candles from the candle of the priest (the holy light) and bring it home where the family table is laid with all the traditional Easter food. Easter Sunday is the big celebration day all over Greece, feasting continues with families roasting whole lambs on spits out-of-doors.

The Assumption of Maria (August 15th)

Another big celebration of Leros, like all over Greece, is the Assumption of Mary. On the 14th August the whole Island goes up to the castle of Leros, where the Church of Mary is sited, to pay its respects and follow the liturgy. Afterwards they will be gathered in restaurants or houses with huge dinners and dancing through the night.


During the summer the Lerians organise athletic competitions known as the Alindia and the Bulafentia. The naval week also take place in summertime and is dedicated to the Greek navy. This week involves free entrance to the public to various war ships which are visiting the Island.

Aegean Regatta

Leros also takes part in the Aegean Regatta during the month of August. The Educational Cultural Association of Youth of Leros, Artemis has, in recent years, become the centre of cultural activities in Leros, organizing theatrical, musical, traditional dancing, art exhibitions and lots of other cultural events in the Island and abroad throughout the year.