Benitses Festivals Celebrations and Events

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Last updated on November 7th, 2023 at 10:25 am

The local community events have always been based on tradition, and decades ago were as spontaneous and natural as the other everyday events of life.

The feast of Saint Marina was a spontaneous celebration centered around her church, which is the oldest in the area.

Children waited impatiently for the toys that were laid out on benches around the church.
We also remember watching the children leaping over the fire on the feast of St. John on June 22 and also the traditional winter holidays around Christmas.

Time has brought inevitable changes, of course, now everything has become more organized, lasts longer, and is perhaps more commercialized.

The Cultural Association

It was founded in 1982 by some young people with the aim of promoting and preserving traditional customs, and raising awareness of the importance of these especially for the young people……more

Blessing of water and other processions

The service for the Blessing of water are organized with solemnity on the feast of the Epiphany, as is the procession of the Epitaphios on Good Friday,
On Easter Monday, and on the following Sunday there are processions, following a service in the small chapel of Agios Nikolaos in Tsaki, southern Benitses, and end in the main square.
Both processions are accompanied by the band of the Municipality of Achilleion.

Resurrection on Easter

The Resurrection on Easter Saturday is now followed by a mass firework display.
This is a new development.
The display starts at midnight and is as spectacular as the famous one in Esplanade Square’s bandstand in Corfu Town.

The fires of St. John

On 22nd June, the day of St. John, the Women’s Association of Benitses has undertaken the responsibility to organize the celebration of his feast day with Lampatines (jumping over fires).

The Lampatines are the fires of St. John as we call them in the Ionian isles.

Anniversary of the Union with Greece – The Achilleian race

In recent years the union of Corfu with Greece in 1864 is officially celebrated here on May 21st when there is a parade of the schools accompanied by the band of the City in the presence of officials.

One or two days later, depending on climatic conditions, an annual Achilleian race has been established, a semi-marathon race in which anyone can participate regardless of age.

Update October 20th, 2019: In recent years Achilleian race is no longer happening.

Festival of Agia Marina

July 17 is the celebration of the festival of Agia Marina, the patron Saint of Benitses.

The church of Agia Marina was built on the banks of the river that once was passed through the village where now is the road that goes through the old village.
The river was used by the boats that carried flour to the mills which were sited near the present aqueduct.
The church remained in the same place after the river was diverted elsewhere.
The feast of Saint Marina lasts for two days (July 16 & 17) with plans in the future to lengthen it further.
The Itinerant stallholders arrive early in order to get the best positions.

Dances and songs go on until early morning hours and for those two days, Benitses is packed with visitors from other parts of the island as well as from further away.

In celebration of Sardines

During the first ten days of August, the festival of the celebration of sardine was organized.

To celebrate this small fish sounds far fetched but if we remember that Benitses once was a fishing village, the largest in Corfu and that the people in the past lived by fishing they had every right to create a celebration for the most popular fish, the sardine.

On the day of the feast, large quantities of sardines were cooked and offered free to all visitors, who can also enjoy dancing to the music of the various traditional bands and the partying till late.

Update October 20th, 2019: In recent years and for various reasons the custom has weakened and the holiday is not happening.
We cannot delete the article, that now has historic value, but simply inform you so that you do not include this festival in your plans.

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