Rethymno - Tradition

Cretans are the people to look you in the eye when they speak and ask to return their gaze and then they will treat you to strong raki. The native Cretans, living in the inland villages of Rethymno prefecture, listen to nature and keep their traditions with piety, giving the island its most charming profile.

A Cretan tradition is a place, where the land and the people become one. Terrabook provides you a "map" in order to discover the deep secrets of this land.


Yakintheia: takes place in Anogeia, every year in July since 1998, praising love, affection and their multiple meanings. This event is Christian and ancient celebration with all kinds of art events and dynamic participation of the locals.

Renaissance Festival: exists from 1987 and takes place in the city of Rethymno every summer with festive concerts on seasonal instruments etc.

Wine and Local Products Festival: this is the festival that exists the longest in Rethymno. It takes place every last week of May in the Municipal Garden.

Rethymno’s Carnival: last year became one century old. During the Carnival many events take place, giving a modern touch to the local traditions.

Treasure Hunt: takes place along with the Rethymno Carnival. It’s a puzzle solving game, associated with the history of the city and its people.

Fat Thursday in Cretan countryside’s style.

Pancake Day: very old traditions revive in various villages of the county, such as Camel in Gerani, the Smudge in Armeni, Begiraki in Eleftherna, Egg Gathering and Bride Kidnapping in Melidoni and Patso, Lerades, the Bear and Hotzas in Meronas.

Agiou Georgiou celebration: takes place in the cheese-making villages Saitoures and Koumi.

Cheese and Shepherd Celebration all over Crete: takes place in the province of Mylopotamos.

Citron Celebration: in Garazo.

Cherry Celebration: in Gerakari.

Easter: The tradition of Crete in all its glory immediately after the Resurrection.


Although Rethymnon was under the Turk and Venetian rule, the Cretans kept and still are eating their own products, put olive oil everywhere, even in sweets, widely using herbs, and feasting with lamb or goat. The Cretan table seems incomplete without a carafe of raki. The cafes in the most remote villages don’t have menus and offer whatever is cooked that day. See the list below as an indication of Cretan gastronomy patriotism:

Chortokalitsouna (small fried pies): can be found in mountain villages.

Gruyere of Amari: cheese with “holes” made of sheep or goat milk, which matures in Cretan caves.

Erondas or Diktamos: local remedy drink in Anogeia.

Charoupia (carob beans) and charoupomelo (sweet carob syrup rich in calcium)


These are the Cretan weddings as they are celebrated beyond the peaks of the Leuka Oroi (White Mountains) and the peak of Psiloritis, where traditions come to live and everything that you heard about the “men in black shirts” becomes true.


The Cretans express their feelings with the rhythm, melody, lyrics and dance. Every step, every movement emanates from the deepest corners of their souls, no matter if it is pain or joy. The Ksilouris family, descended from Anogeia, is the most famous family of musicians on the island. From the legendary Nikos Ksilouris and his brothers, the famous lyre player Psarantonis and virtuoso lute player Psarogiannisб to their children and grandchildren. Three generations of musicians keep alive the musical tradition of Crete and carried by thousands of fans around the world.

Literature Georgios Hortatsis, who lived in 16th -17th century, is the most important writer of Rethymno region of all times.

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