Panagia Myrtidiotissa’s Name Day is Kythira’s most important religious festival, celebrated annually on September 24th. The Icon of Panagia (protectress of the Kythirians) is in the monastery church of Myrtidia (myrtles), located in the south-western part of the island. The monastery derives its name from the fact that in the fourteenth century, the icon was found there in burning myrtle bushes.
Many Greek pilgrims come to Kythira especially to visit the monastery and to honour the beautiful Myrtidiotissa icon. The service on September 24th is quite impressive, with more than 1000 visitors. After the High Mass, which starts at 9 am, the Myrtidiotissa icon is carried in procession around the monastery grounds, preceded by a fanfare from the band of Potamos. Afterwards, everybody stays for a while to have a chat. Coffee, soft drinks and homemade sweets are offered to the visitors.
This year’s final major summer festival in Agia Pelagia, connected to Myrtidiotissa’s Name day, will be held on Saturday September 23rd, starting at 9 pm. Along the promenade there will be plenty of music and dance. Again, a party you shouldn’t miss!