Unfortunately, in 2020, all public events, festivals, concerts and fairs were canceled due to anti-COVID-19 measures. Perhaps the restrictions will be in power for some time. But let's hope that this will end soon and in 2021 in Cyprus, as there will be many happy holidays in the past.
Unlike other countries, if a public holiday fell on Saturday or Sunday, then there is no additional day off is expected.
Also, before traveling to Cyprus, be sure to check the calendar so as not to get into an awkward situation. Many shops and car rentals may not work. Don't say you weren't warned.
Apart from the local holidays, Cyprus also celebrates 2 national holidays of Greece and several Orthodox ones. Let's take a look at which days are significant for the island.
Holidays in Cyprus
Holidays in the Republic of Cyprus, which are non-working days, are still sometimes called bank holidays.
Cyprus and Slovakia are the champions in the number of "bank holidays" in Europe - as much as 15 days. In Thailand, Lebanon, South Korea and Japan there are as many “bank holidays” as in Cyprus - 15. India and Colombia are the world record holders. These countries have 18 non-working holidays. Least of all in Europe, the British have days off - only 8 days a year.
Holidays in Cyprus in 2020:
October 1: Cyprus Independence Day (Greek: Ημέρα Ανεξαρτησίας της Κύπρου) - day off
The Republic of Cyprus gained its independence... on August 16, 1960, after an agreement between Great Britain, Turkey and Greece - the guarantors of the island's security and independence - was signed in Zurich. But in 1963, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic voted to celebrate this event on October 1, when the summer holidays end and it is not so hot. On this day, a military parade of the National Guard is held in Nicosia.
October 28: Ohi Day (Greek: Το Όχι) - day off
According to the official version, Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas replied with this short "no" (Okhi! In Greek) to the ultimatum of the Italian dictator, Mussolini, who demanded that Italian troops pass through the territory of Greece in October 1940. A war began, in which the Greeks successfully fought. But in April 1941 Germany invaded Greece... and within 24 days, the Wehrmacht defeated the troops of Greece.
On the island of Cyprus, there was no fighting in the Second World War, but about 6,000 volunteers fought on the side of Greece, and about 30,000 Cypriots joined the British troops. On this day, parades of veterans, students and schoolchildren are held in all cities of Cyprus. Most of the shops are closed, so make sure you buy everything in advance.
December 24: Christmas Eve (Greek: Παραμονή Χριστουγέννων) - day off
Cyprus celebrates Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar.
December 25: Christmas (in Greek: Χριστούγεννα) - day off
On this day, the mistress of a house in Cyprus hangs a ripe pomegranate over the entrance, as a symbol of prosperity and fertility. In the towns and villages of the island, illumination lights up on the fishing boats called "caravaki". Christmas tree decoration came to Greece and Cyprus much later from Germany. Until now, flocks of children with rattles and accordions walk around the cities. They knock on doors and sing carols, receiving trifles and sweets as a reward.
The onset of Christmas is preceded by a 40-day fast. Therefore, after the Christmas service, on the night of December 24-25, the locals have a grand dinner. The most popular Christmas dish on this day is stuffed turkey or chicken. Melomakarona (a round cake made of flour, with honey or syrup and walnuts) and kourabiedes (the Greek version of the well-known kurabie cookies) are served on the table as a sweet.
In Cyprus, there is a wide demand for the "Christmas flower" - Poinsettia, which is used to decorate all houses.
December 26: Christmastide or Boxing Day (Greek: Δευτέρα Χριστούγεννων), as well as the Day of the Kykkos Icon of the Mother of God - day off
Holidays in Cyprus in 2021
January 1: New Year or Saint Basil's Day (Greek: Ρεβεγιόν) - day off
For the festive New Year's dinner, the hostesses bake a pie with cheese, dried fruits and nuts - Vasilopita (in Greek Βασιλόπιτα), placing a coin in it “for luck”. Whoever gets a piece with it will be happy in the new year. Shortly before the striking clock, the family leaves the house. Exactly at midnight, the youngest one crosses the threshold first (with the right foot!). And the lucky one who finds a coin in the pie picks a pomegranate hanging for Christmas and smashes it on the floor so that the grains scatter around the house.
January 6: Baptism of Christ, Epiphany or Fota (holiday of light) (Greek: Θεοφάνεια) - day off
On the eve of the day, the hostesses bake sweet loucoumades and throw them on the roof to appease the evil spirits. There is a festive service in all churches early in the morning. Then, in a procession of the cross, the parishioners, led by the school parade and brass bands, head to the harbors. After the prayer service, the Metropolitan throws a cross into the sea, and the daredevils dive after him. It is believed that the one who got it will be happy this year. According to many years of observations, the sun always shine at this moment!
March 15 (date not fixed) - Green (clean) Monday (Greek: Καθαρά Δευτέρα) - day off
This is the first day of Lent. And also last days of winter. On the eve, the hostesses carefully clean the house and bake a special lean bread, which will be on the table for all 50 days of fasting. The carnival had thundered a week earlier. Now there is no time for fun. Nevertheless, the first day is celebrated by the whole family with a plentiful feast, but without meat - squid, octopus and other seafood are grilled. All this is in nature. In the mountains or on the beaches. One of the traditions of this day is flying kites, symbolizing spiritual purity and nobility of thoughts. On this day, thousands of multi-colored kites rise above Cyprus.
March 25: Greek Independence Day (Greek: Επέτειος Ελληνικής Ανεξαρτησίας) - day off
The day is dedicated to the national liberation revolution against the Turkish occupation in 1821. Yes, Cyprus celebrates Greek national holidays. On this day, parades are held in major cities, as well as church services in honor of the Annunciation.
April 1: National Day of Cyprus (Greek: Κυπριακή Εθνική Επέτειος) - day off
Day of the beginning of the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists, which began in 1955.
On November 10, 1954, retired Colonel Georgios Grivas delivered weapons and ammunition from Greece to the EOKA Organization of Greek Nationalists in Cyprus on the St. George launcher. And less than six months later, the first explosions thundered in the cities of Cyprus - a partisan war began.
On this day, memorial prayers and mourning events are held on the island in memory of the Cypriots who gave their lives for the freedom of Cyprus.
April 30 (date not fixed): Good Friday (Greek: Μεγάλη Παρασκευή) - day off
A solemn church service takes place on this day.
May 1: Spring and Labor Day (Greek: Πρωτομαγιά) - day off
May 3 (date not fixed): Easter Monday (in Greek: Δευτέρα της Διακαινησίμου) - day off
May 4 (date not fixed): Holy Tuesday (Greek: Μεγάλη Τρίτη) - day off
It is customary to bake a special cake for Easter. It is called Flaouna (in Greek: Φλαούνα). There are sweet ones with raisins or salted cheese. They say that they are baked exclusively in Cyprus, regardless of religion. Turkish Cypriots call them Pilavuna and bake them for Ramadan.
The rest is like everywhere. Candles are lit from the Holy Fire delivered from Jerusalem. At home, a grand dinner is arranged. The national soup is served on the table - trahanas, lamb souvlaki and many other delicacies.
June 21 (date not fixed): Pentecost or Holy Trinity Day (Greek: Αγίου Πνεύματος) - day off
Celebrated on the fiftieth day after Easter. On this day, the Holy Spirit descended to the apostles and endowed them with the ability to speak different languages so that they could convey the teachings of Jesus Christ to other nations.
August 15: Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos (in Greek: Η Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου) - day off
On this day, believers worship the icon of the Virgin Mary, which, according to legend, helps to conceive childless couples.
Cypriots celebrate about 40 more village holidays and festivals, for example:
- "Feast of the Damask Rose" in Agros
- "Cherry Festival" in Pedoulas village in Troodos
- "Apple Festival" in Kyperount
- Every May there is a flower parade - Antestiria.
- In the middle of August - the festival of lemons in Caracas.
- Late August - Wine Festival in Limassol. During the festival, many wine producers treat visitors for free.
- In September - the festival of grapes in Limassol.
Religious holidays in Cyprus
Christmas festivals begin in the cities of Cyprus on December 6 on St. Nicholas Day and end on January 6 at Epiphany.
On the eve of Lent Tsiknopempti is held on the island for 7 days. In 2021, it will be held on March 8-14. Fairs and carnivals will open throughout the island.
The culmination of the holiday is “Fat Thursday” or “Meat Thursday”. When bankers fry souvlaki and treat everyone with meat and zivania.
And also in May-June in the coastal cities they celebrate Kataklysmos - the holiday of water (dedicated to the Flood and the salvation of Noah).
A holiday that is always with us
As you can see, at any time of the year, Cypriots have a reason to get together with their family or friends at a festive table, have a picnic in the mountains or on the seashore, go to a concert or take an active part in festivities.
Photos: sintages-jotis.gr, pixabay.com