Festivities & Events in Rethymnon
The Renaissance Festival - Since 1987 the famous Renaissance Festival has been organised by the Municipality of Rethymnon each summer.
Due to the fact that both the architecture and literature of the Renaissance have worked as a pedestal for the development of the town of Rethymnon, it seemed only natural that the town should become the main sponsor of a variety of manifestations aiming at the promotion of both the Cretan and European Renaissance.
Over the course of the years, all the works of Cretan play writers have been performed as well as a large variety of plays by Shakespeare, Moliere, Goldoni and others. Furthermore musicians from all over the world came to Rethymnon to perform a wide range of music, starting from the period of the Renaissance to modern times.
On a similar note street performances of the "Comedia del arte" could be seen in the narrow streets and alleys of the old town. Dancing performances, exhibitions of paintings, speeches and cinema complete the framework of the festival activities.
Almost all performances are carried out in the "Erofili" Theatre on the Fortress. To walk on the path, which is paved with cobblestone, uphill to the "Fortezza" on a summer evening and to live the delightful moments of a theatre, dancing or music performance is a blissful experience.
The Treasure Hunt - The most popular organisation in respect of participation is the Treasure Hunt of Rethymno. It is the favourite game of the locals of all ages and takes place two weeks before Carnival. During this marathon game, which lasts for one day, your brain, your body and your nerves are tested. The grade of difficulty has reached an unbelievable level, which makes it almost impossible for somebody who is not initiated to take part. However, it is a great experience to watch a group in action.
The Treasure Hunt helped the young people of Rethymnon to achieve a profound knowledge of the town's history, to come close to its monuments and to trace every single detail of historical periods. It is worth mentioning that the way the players accomplish a task in this game has become an invariable component. A similarly important event is the "Children's Treasure Hunt", which takes place a week earlier.
The International Day of Tourism - The Association of Hotel owners in co-operation with the Municipality of Rethymnon organises a treasure hunt each summer in the framework of the "International Day of Tourism".
Visitors to the town are invited to participate and the winners are awarded 'all included' holidays in Rethymnon.
Carnival - The town of Rethymno organises the grandest carnival on the island of Crete and one of the most impressive of Greece. It is worth mentioning that apart from the magnificent parade various other events take place in the framework of the carnival festivities.
On Shrove Thursday a street party is organised on Platano Square and at the Church of Mikri Panagia including live music for everyone's taste, as well as titbits and wine. All the locals look forward to the event, since during the last years it has developed into the largest open-air party the town has even known.
On the Sunday before the great parade a party is organised for the participating groups, who not only appear dressed up with costumes but they also perform sketches, which the members of each group have written and which refer to the subject they have chosen for the parade. Of course the party, which includes plenty of food, wine and dancing, continues up until the early hours of the morning.
On Shrove Friday, two days before the actual Carnival parade is held, one gets a first impression of what it will be like, when the parade passes through the town at night.
More than 4,000 people have worked feverishly for months in order to present their masks and carriages on the great Carnival parade.
Shrove Monday in the picturesque villages of the Prefecture of Rethymnon - The revival of traditions and customs in picturesque villages of the Prefecture of Rethymnon challenges and invites everybody to experience an unforgettable Shrove Monday.
The villages of Meronas at the foothills of Mount Psiloritis and of Melidoni welcome hundreds of aficionados of the old customs, which up until today include Carnival games, happenings and satires and keep the memories of earlier times alive. Customs such as the "kidnapping of the bride", the "Kantis", the smudging of people, performed in combination with good wine and the music of the lyre are a successful formula for a unique experience.
The Cretan Wine Festival - In the coolness of the Municipal Garden, the "Travelling Club" of Rethymnon organises the Cretan Wine Festival each summer. A rich programme including traditional Cretan and Greek folklore music groups is offered, thus illustrating the Greek way of entertainment every evening to the large number of local and foreign visitors. Wine is abundantly consumed since it is free.
The visitor will find choices of wine from the largest wine producing companies of Crete, and he is given the opportunity to try almost all the flavours and varieties of the famous Cretan wines.