Mary Magdalene's visit to the island in 34AD, Christian faith
won over the idol-worshipping population and conquered the hearts
of the people of Zakynthos.
Until the earthquake of 1953, there were over 350 churches on
the island, of which 100 were in the capital.
Even today, the visitor can admire many beautiful churches rebuilt
The Church of St Dionysios (St.Denis) in Zakynthos
Town is the largest on the island and is home to many important
works of art, including painting, word carving and gold sculpture.
The Church of St. Nikolas of Molas (in Solomou Square) is home
to beautiful religious icons.
holds a number of festivals, most of them religious. Saint Dionysios
(St. Denis), the patron of the island is now celebrated twice
yearly on 24 August and 17 December.
If you want to enjoy Greek life with the Zakynthians, here's a
list of the public holidays:-
1st January - New Years Day. The Feast of Saint Basil.
Cake (Vassilopita) is sliced (a Byzantine custom) and the person
who finds the coin is the lucky person for the new year.
6th January - Epiphany (also know as Theofania) and the
Baptism of Christ.
1st May - May Day (Labour Day). National holiday and typically
the time for exhuberant demonstration by trade unions and citizens.
21st May - Union of the Ionian Islands to Greece - Parades.
19th June - Pentecost.
One of the highlights of the year is the Holy Week celebration.
Easter starts on Holy Tuesday when the St. Denis choir chant the
On Good Friday, the main procession through Zakynthos
Town commences at 2pm. The procession starts at St Nikolas
of Molas and solemnly tours the town before returning to St. Nikolas.
By U. Foscolo and translated by Edgar Allan Poe.
Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take!
How many memories of what radiant hours
At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
How many scenes of what departed bliss!
How many visions of a maiden that is
No more - no more upon thy verdant slopes!
No more! alas, that magical sad sound
Transforming all! Thy charm shall please no more.
They memory no more! Accursed ground!
Henceforth. I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
O hyacinthine isle!
O purple Zante!
Fior di Levante!