The most important festival on the island which marks the Ascension of the Virgin Mary to Heaven.Pilgrims make their way to Paros from all over Greece to pray at the shrine of the Virgin in The Church of a Hundred Doors (Ekatontapyliani). A parade which starts at the Church, pauses at the port where a short speech is given, before the procession makes its way to the towns second biggest church, Zodocho Pigi, halfway down the seafront. Thousands of people then follow the bishops, priests, marching band, civil dignitaries, and generally just about everyone else, back up the tiny market street, passing on the way the three tiny churches of the Agora before ending up at Ekatontapyliani where blessings are given.
Then the party really starts. Fishing boats, motor boats, and anyone armed with anything vaguely seaworthy head out into the bay for an altogether more secular kind of celebration. Flares are lit and waved, creating vast clouds of red smoke that drift over towards the assembled hordes of onlookers patiently waiting for the firework display that in recent years has just got better and better. The fireworks are launched from a ferry in the bay and no expense is spared in lighting up the skies in one of the most spectacular firework shows throughout Greece. Be warned though, seafront tables tend to be occupied from very early on so if you are planning on watching from a cafe, bar or restaurant, stake your seat out well ahead of time.
With the fireworks out of the way celebrations continue well into the (very) early hours.