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The biggest festival in Paros is that of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. It is viewed by many as the highlight of the summer season and there are many concerts for visitors to enjoy and parties for them to indulge in.
The festival is known locally as 'Koimoisis tis Theotokou'. 'Theotokos' literally means 'the Bearer of God'. In the Orthodox religion the Virgin Mary is important not only as the Mother of Jesus but also as representing a bridge between man and God.
The festival preparations actually start before the event with a period of fasting commencing from the 1st of August. This lasts for 14 days and during this time religious followers do not eat any meat, dairy, wine or oil.
The 'Paraclesis' service of supplication and prayer also takes place in this destination. This is composed of the 'Small Paraclesis' and the 'Great Paraclesis'. This is in honour of the Theotokos and during this people ask the Virgin Mary for her compassion and assistance.
The actual festival on the 15th of August is comprised of a church service followed by an impressive procession which makes its way around the destination pf Paros, with the priests displaying the icon as well as the Epitaphios of the Blessed Virgin. The procession is shown over state television and is a major event in the region.
Afterwards, there are a number of displays of traditional Greek music and dancing. Then, in the evening, a firework display rounds off the festivities.
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