Symi, the lady of the Dodecanese, is as famous for the revelry of its feasts as it is for its ship-building and sponge-diving.
The feast of Ayios Ioannis Stafilis is observed on June 24, while Ayia Marina’s feast day is observed at Ayia Marina isle on July 17. There is also a panigyri in observance of the feast of Profitis Ilias on July 20, Sotiros (Savior) on August 6 at Niborio and Megalo Sotiri, Panayia Alithini and Panayia Myrtiotissa on August 15, Panayia Alithini and Panayia Ypakoi on August 24 at Nimo.
The best-known panigyri in the Dodecanese is the observances of the feast of the Taxiarches (Holy Archangels) at Panormitis. The Archangel Michael is the patron-saint of Symi, a protector of seamen and spongedivers. The monastery dedicated to the saint was founded in the late eighteenth century at Panormitis cove; it is a single-apse basilica in the Dodecanese style. The bell tower over the monastery’s main gate is one of the most prettily crafted in the Aegean. The inner courtyard is laid with white and black pebbles in the shape of a fishbone. The icon of the Archangel Michael inside the main church is a full-body portrait in the Renaissance style.
After church services, pilgrims are treated to Symi coffee—which is boiled in large vats and served with fresh milk. They are then ushered to the monastery dining room where they are treated to meat broth with orzo, tomato, and egg-lemon sauce, boiled goat, olive salads, dried salted fish, and semi-sweet Rhodes wine.