Each year, following the flow of the seasons, various villages set up major events, celebrating Cretan local produce and know-how. The cherry festival, the potato festival, the carob festival, the honey festival, the Graviera (Cretan cheese) festival, the Mizithra (fresh Cretan cheese) festival, the snail festival – and the list goes on and on…
In most cases, these events last 3 days, ending in a grand traditional Crete celebration that never fails to draw in a crowd. Here’s some that you don’t want to miss! This page will be updated to include our latest escapades.
Equally dubbed “the feast of the sheep.”
This is one of the most impressive celebrations, with each farmer inviting friends and family to help out with the shearing. After the shearing, everyone gathers around the table for a celebratory feast. If you are here at this time of year, Yannis the farmer is sure to invite you over.
The Dafnes wine festival
Since 1976 the village of Dafnes has been organising an annual wine festival.
It lasts from ten to fifteen days and is held in the village square.
Guests are invited to a free tasting of Dafnes wine, traditional Cretan plates and mezzes in an ambience made even more festive by the traditional Cretan music and dancing events.
The festival serves as the backdrop of several exhibitions of Cretan folk art, books and tools traditionally used in Cretan agriculture and viniculture.
The Thrapsano potters festival
For 3 whole days, the Thrapsano potters are kings!
For centuries, they have been using ancient techniques dating back to the Minoan era to create large vessels, clay pots that require a different technique from the pottery found in other Cretan villages for smaller objects.
Festive, boisterous nights and traditional Cretan feasts await!
The potato festival
Soon after August 15, the Cultural Association of Tzermiado (a village in the Lassithi Plateau) holds an annual three-day Potato Festival, that equally promotes other local agricultural products, renowned for their quality and flavour. What better opportunity for some fun time, with traditional music and Cretan dishes and drink tasting keeping all participants happy… A contest for the year’s Biggest Potato is in order!
The Citron Festival
The citron is the quintessential citrus fruit. The fruit’s name stems from its thick and rugged skin that smells of cedar.
The great-grandfather of the lemon, citron is an oval-shaped fruit with characteristically wrinkled skin. Its acid green or yellow pulp holds little juice, but the delightful perfume of its zest more than makes up for that.
Citron zest is seldom used fresh. It is primarily candied and used in the pastry and confectionery industry, as well as decoration. It can also be used to make jam and liqueurs. Citron essence is often used in perfumery.
This festival is held in the province of Rethimnon to support citron producers. Shows, theatre plays, Cretan music, citron-based delicacy tasting… there is no shortage of events, although the highlight is definitely the creation of a citron pie that can be up to 4 meters in diameter, 80 centimetres in height and up to 300 kilos in weight!
The Shepherd and Cheese Festival in Zoniana
Every year the village of Zoniana hosts this festival to celebrate the production and quality of the region’s dairy products. A wonderful opportunity to take a look at the customary lives and activity of the Psiloritis mountains’ farmers. Visitors get the chance to meet the villagers, listen to music and join in the dancing in this authentic Cretan feast. During the festival, participating cheese-making shepherds will present and cut into a giant kefalotyri that is likely to weight close to a ton.
The ‘rakokazanoukazanema’ is a grape distilling process that leads to the production of Raki (tsikoudia). In fact, it is the residues of grapes pressed for the production of wine that is distilled.
The rakokazano is a ritual that takes place throughout the island and the entire harvest period, i.e. from October to mid-December. Only people who have been awarded a special licence are allowed to partake. In almost all villages of Crete, distillery cauldrons are set up. If you find yourselves in Crete during that time of year, don’t hesitate to ask villagers when and where the rakokazano will take place, more often than not accompanied by a hearty meal of grilled meat and other Cretan dishes.