Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon

I saw people hanging from the windows trying to get a glimpse of the parade. I squeezed to the opposite wall trying to fit the scene inside my 20mm lens. I waited patiently for a horse to enter the frame before I captured the photo.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

It's my first time visiting the water city, also called "Small Venice of Greece", Aetolikon. 

Aitolikon is located 10km northwest of Messolonghi and 251km from Athens. It takes around 3 hours drive from Athens with a gas and toll cost of around 58euro. There is a longer route, if you want to avoid the tolls, that is 314km long but the total cost of the trip is around 35 euro.

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

I walked at the narrow alleys of the city where I met Dimitris, the man who owns the stable with the horses that are used for the event.

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

The monastery is filled up with believers and the preparations begin for the feast. Many people use horses to arrive. We are planning to spend the night at the mountain. 

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

I can see the first group of the participants arriving from the nearby villages on top of tractors. They are all wearing the traditional outfit "Foustanela". They make this pilgrimage to light a candle at the church and see the icon of Saint Agathe.

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

One of them is the famous presenter of French TV, Nikos Aliagas. He originates from a nearby village and every year he takes part in the custom.

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

At the end of the pilgrimage, the feast begins around the monastery. It lasts until the morning.

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

The following day I go back to the town for the big parade. It starts from the stone bridge, one of the two entrances of the city. The parade and the feast spread throughout the city and last until late at night.

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon - Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas
Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon
Greece. Western Greece. Etoliko. © Michael Pappas

I am very proud of this image as it was selected as "Photo of the Day" by National Geographic. I saw people hanging from the windows trying to get a glimpse of the parade. I squeezed to the opposite wall trying to fit the scene inside my 20mm lens. I waited patiently for a horse to enter the frame before I captured the photo.

#water #alleys #monastery #celebration #agathe #horses #horse #outfit #traktor #candles #mountain #parade #feast #saint #stone bridge #small venice #aitolikon #tractor #foustanela #pilgrimage

Location

Celebration of Saint Agathe at Aitolikon

30 Epar.Od. Etolikou - Astakou Etoliko
Etoliko, Western Greece, Greece

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