The Cultural Days of East Mani Municipality have become an institution in the cultural life of the town and an additional attraction for visitors.
From late June till late September, the Municipality organizes numerous cultural events such as theatrical and musical performances, musical evenings, local gastronomy days, pirate nights, concerts and poetry nights.
March 17 National Day
The 17th March celebration, the most important historical celebration taking place in Mani, commemorates the outbreak of the Greek Revolution against Ottoman rule in Areopolis on March 17th 1821. Events last for three days and include a dramatization of the oath taking ceremony of the local families and chieftains as well as of the making of their historic decision. They also include a parade in which students of local schools and student delegations from the whole of Greece take part, equestrian and shooting games as well as folk dance shows given by folk dance societies from Crete, Ioannina, Messologi, Arta, the Black Sea communities and of course from Mani.
On March 17 1821, Petrompeis Mavromichalis together with other chieftains, with the phrase “Victory or Death”, a phrase that eventually became the emblem of Mani, as their motto, announced the declaration of the liberation war of the nation. Mani dresses well and welcomes the rest of Greece in a special atmosphere.
Religious holidays are brilliantly celebrated in Mani. In every village or town, people, faithful to their customs and traditions, honour and celebrate their saints.
Patron saints of Gytheio and Areopolis
Gytheio celebrates its patron church, the Presentation of the Lord, on February 2nd with ceremonial splendour and religious devoutness, while Areopolis honours its patron saints, Archangels Michael and Gabriel, on November 8thwith emotional reverence.
December 6th – Agios Nikolaos (St Nicholas)
With a long tradition in fishing, Gytheio honours Agios Nikolaos (St Nicholas), the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, with special reverence, on December 6th.
Christmas – New Year Day
Christmas events in East Mani Municipality carry the spirit of Christmas to everyone. The sound of the Philharmonic orchestra and Christmas carols, children’s shows, Christmas toys, the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of the City Hall and more create moments of joy and relaxation for everyone.
On January 6th, the Blessing of the Waters ceremony takes place on the coastal road of Gytheio with the participation of the local community.
April 23rd – Saint George’s Day
St. George’s Day is celebrated with great honour both in Gytheio and in Areopolis. The procession of the icon brings back childhood memories.
Celebration of Panagia Giatrissa (our Healing Lady)
On September 8th, we celebrate our Healing Lady. The monastery is located in the former Sminos Municipality, in a village called Kastania and is visited by faithful people from all over Greece. It is the tradition to get to the monastery on foot, especially during the week before September the 8th , in honour of our Lady.
The monastery is set in an idyllic location at an altitude higher than 1000 metres and is about 28 km away from Gytheio. It can be reached by car by the Agios Nikolaos – Kastania – Holy Monastery of Panagia Giatrissa road.
Easter in Mani
Mani welcomes you and invites you to discover its beauty and to experience the traditional Easter celebrations in a way only the Greek countryside can offer: bells carrying the message of the Resurrection to every village, traditional flavours and family gatherings, all in a landscape that smells of thyme. Easter in Mani is an experience waiting for you to live.
Carnival events – Celebration of Carnival (Carnival)
A moveable feast
Gytheion gets colourful and everyone dances to the rhythms of the Carnival. Stilt walkers, street dancers, the treasure hunt and the carnival parade give locals and visitors the opportunity to remember the child in them.
Traditional Lenten dishes, wine, traditional songs and a kite flying competition have become an institution in Mani and attract many visitors from the region.
May Day – The flower celebration
As part of May Day celebrations, Eastern Mani Municipality, in collaboration with businessmen of the region, organizes a trade fair of flowers. The exhibition takes place at the Town Hall Square and lasts 2-3 days.
June 26th – The heroic battle of Diros
Women in Mani are heroines. In June 1826, on the shore of Diros, with mowing scythes as weapons they humiliated until then undefeated Ibrahim Pasha. The festivities in honour of the women of Mani last for three days. They take place on the last weekend of June and include a dramatization of the landing of the Turkish-Egyptian army on the shore of Diros, traditional dance shows by folk dance societies and shooting games.
August 30rd – The Polyaravou battle celebration
This celebration, on the anniversary of the Battle of Polyaravou, commemorates the people of Mani’s victory over Ibrahim Pasha in 1826. On that day, the forces of the chieftains of Mani, numbering 2,000 men, faced the bulk of the forces of Ibrahim Pasha that eventually turned and fled in confusion. As a result, Mani did not succumb to Ibrahim and stayed free until the end of the revolution. Festivities take place on the last Sunday of August.
September 14th – Gytheion Trade fair
This trade fair takes place in Gytheio and is a tradition over 100 years old. All types of traders set up an open market in the commercial centre of Gytheion, in the streets around the CIIEM. The trade fair starts on the day of the religious feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-giving Cross and lasts one week. It started as a cattle market and over time has become one of the most famous fairs of Laconia and beyond.