There is hardly any visitor capable of resisting the lure of the
numerous cultural events (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
miniscule 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
During the Easter week, the Lerian house is a 'work
factory' of preparation for the Greek housewife. Biscuits, cakes, cheese
pies, hardboiled 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.
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.
Other Cultural Activities
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. 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.