Later in the month, ancient customs continue in the Anastenaria, an observance which includes fire walking - really dancing - over pits filled with coals, primarily celebrated in Aghia Eleni near Serres and Langada outside of Thessaloniki. There are organized tours available to see the Anastenaria.
On May 18th, International Monuments Day, is celebrated with free admission to all museums and archaeological sites in Greece.
On Crete, the Battle of Crete is commemorated in many places throughout the month, with a major observance in Heraklion on and around the May 22nd anniversary. The resistance to Adolf Hitler's paratrooper invasion of the island was so intense that the Fuhrer declared that he would never again launch a similar attack. Many families still light candles to loved ones lost over six decades ago in what was a very dark passage in the history of the island. See the link above for details on the battle, the vigorous resistance, and its ultimate effect on Crete.
On Rhodes, the last weeks of May see a Medieval Festival and usually the annual flower festival filling the streets of the Old City. This area is picturesque under any conditions, but this promises to liven up the old stone walls with brilliant splashes of color. Photographers, take note. In addition to the flowers, many booths offer Rhodian delicacies and an ample selection of the wines of Rhodes.By May, the water in southern Greece is usually warm enough - just - for swimming.The weather can range from cool to even hot, especially toward the end of the month.
Quick Look at May:
Mainland Weather: Warm, sometimes even hot.
Island/Coastal Weather: Terrific - pleasantly warm, light breezes.
Events: Local festivals, Battle of Crete commemorations
Facilities: Island hotels and restaurants all open. Boat schedules, air schedules increase.
Budget/Independent travelers: Great time to go!
Name Days and Other Festivals:
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May - September - Sound and Light Show on Corfu
May - October - Sound and Light Show on Rhodes
May - September - Dora Stratou Dance Troupe in Athens - Terrific folk dancing troupe.
May - First Weekend - Karpathos - Amopi - Local Festival - varies each month.
May - Eleusis - Folk Festival
May - End of the month - Trikala - Hadjipetria Festival - Athletics, dances, cultural events.
May - Lesbos - Molyvos - Week of Prose and Art - Festival with plays, exhibits, etc
May 1st - Labor Day
May 1st - Feast of Flowers
May 1-15 - Chalkidiki Sokratia Festival - Folk festival
May 1-15 - Larisa - Achillia - Literature, theater, folklore, music, dancing fest.
May 5th - Feast of St. Irene the Great Martyr
May 8th - Feast of St. John the Theologian
May 8 - Crete - Agios Nikolaos - Lato Festival
May 18th - International Museums Day - free admission to most museums.
May 21st - Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen (Eleni)
May 21st - Corfu - Unification of the Ionian Islands
May 21st - Rethymno - Battle of Crete
May 21st - Kassos - Vrisi - festival with songs and dancing.
May 21 - 23rd - Agia Elleni near Serres - Anasternaria fire walking.
May 21 - 23rd - Langada near Thessaloniki - Anasternaria fire walking.
May 25th - Volos - Folk dances and songs in the Public Theater
May 29th - Mistras - Paleological Festival - Mass in memory of the last of the Byzantine emperors.
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