The 15th of August is one of the biggest religious celebrations in Greece after Easter and Christmas, a national holiday that is observed by the public and private sector.
Dekapentavgoustos (15 August), as the day is referred to in Greek, is the day of the Dormition of Virgin Mary. On the Greek Orthodox calendar this date marks the moment when Mary, Christ’s mother, ascended into Heaven. It is considered a day, not of mourning, but a celebration of joy for the union of the mother with her son.
Greeks prepare themselves by fasting from 1 to 14 August. The fast is broken on the 15th.
It is tradition for Greeks to flock to home villages or islands and attend celebrations that are held at churches throughout the country.
The most popular celebration in the country for the commemoration of Mary’s passing takes place on Tinos where the Greek Orthodox Church’s holiest cathedral, the Panaghia Evangelistria, stands. Pilgrims flock by the thousands to this Cycladic island each year to the church that is home to a miraculous icon of Virgin Mary, discovered underground in 1823.
Athens becomes a bit deserted in August, especially during the week of the 15th, which is a public holiday period. As agreed by many, it is a great time for residents and visitors to be in the city as it is less crowded, there are no traffic jams in the streets and it is more quiet than usual. This may just be the best time for residents and visitors to go out and really explore Athens center and Attica.
~~~ Please note, that on the 25th of August, there is free admission to all museums!!!! ~~~
All musuems will operate normally, from 8am to 8pm. The Acropolis Museum will be open to the public until 10pm.