Holidays in Cyprus - Konnos Bay
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Cyprus Bank Holidays - The Cypriots Can't Get Enough of Them

People in the Republic of Cyprus enjoy a fair amount of Cyprus Bank Holidays. It's always a useful thing to know before booking your holiday, as a number of shops, petrol stations and businesses are shut on these particular days. Then again, it's a great time for festivities…

Cyprus Public Holidays 2010
1st January - New Years Day
6th January - Epiphany
15th February - Green Monday
25th March - Greek Independence Day
1st April - Greek Cypriot National Day
2nd April - Greek Orthodox Good Friday
3rd April - Orthodox Holy Saturday
4th April - Greek Orthodox Easter Monday
1st May - Labour Day
8th June - Pentecost (Kataklysmos)
15th August - Assumption
1st October - Cyprus Independence Day
28th October - Greek National Day
24th - 26th December - Christmas

What Goes on During These Cyprus Bank Holidays and What Do They Signify?

On New Years Day, there are usually fireworks at Midnight after drinking, singing and generally partying. New Years Day in Cyprus is also known as St Basils Day. St Basil is actually the Cypriot equivalent of Santa Clause, and gifts are exchanged on this day, not on Christmas day. People attend Church in the morning of New Years day, in small towns and villages.

Epiphany is a Christian feast day which celebrates the revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. In churches holy water fonts are usually blessed to destroy the kalikándzari demons that are alleged to run wild on earth after Christmas. As a final stage, at seaside locations after the morning service the local bishop heads a procession to the sea to bless the water and he throws a crucifix into the sea where young divers swim to find it. Epiphany falls at the end of the school Christmas break.

Green Monday occurs six weeks before Easter which is the first day of Lent. The common term for this day, "Clean Monday," refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. It is sometimes called "Ash Monday," by analogy with Ash Wednesday (the day when the Western Churches begin Lent). This would be a general public holiday where schools are closed. Most families would travel to the country side to picnic. In towns and big villages, people parade in the streets and dress up in fancy costumes.

Greek Independence Day is marked as a dual holiday, both secular and religious. In 1821, Greeks rose up against the harsh Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for nearly four hundred years, embarking on the ultimately successful war of independence. Bishop Germanos of Patras boldly raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavras, stirring the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors. While the exact date probably was not March 25th, it did occur in late March and it was gradually associated with the religious feast of the Annunciation. Expect closures and delays and wonderful parades on the streets of the Republic of Cyprus.

Greek Cypriot National Day commemorates the anniversary of the start of the liberation struggle of the Greek Cypriots against British colonial rule in 1955. On this day secondary school pupils as well as students of higher institutes attend church services.

Greek Orthodox Good Friday belongs to the most important holiday for the Greek Cypriots and starts early in Holy week in April, 2 days before Easter. Good Friday is an important day on the Christian calendar, with vigils, church services and a slow march through towns and villages bearing coffins overloaded with flowers in the evening. But for most people it's also a regular working day.

Since Easter is a Sunday, and most shops and businesses are closed on Sundays anyway, Greek Orthodox Easter Monday is the main public holiday.Easter Monday is a much more relaxed day when everyone gets ready to return to work and school. The main work of Easter Monday is to finish the foods that were not eaten the day before!

Each year the first day of May is celebrated as May Day or Labour Day. During this day the Lenten fast is broken with avgolémono soup and family members in towns and villages crack their red-dyed eggs against each other. The owner of the last unbroken egg wins. Apart from the eggs cracking, traditional dancing and various local games are carried out Although no longer really used as a day for workers to campaign about issues that affect them, the day is a public holiday throughout Cyprus.

Pentecost (Kataklysmos) occurs seven weeks after Easter and is unique to South Cyprus. It combines the celebration of Pentecost with the story of the Flood in which Noah's Ark floated. This festival has a great cultural significance during which contests of dancers, singers, and folk poets are carried out. This festival usually lasts for the whole week after Pentecoast.

Assumption Day is a religious festival that celebrates the Virgin Mary's ascent to heaven.

An Independence Day is an annual celebration commemorating the anniversary of a nation's assumption of independent statehood, usually after ceasing to be a colony or part of another state, more rarely after the end of a military occupation. Cyprus became an independent country after a four year guerrilla war (1955-1959) against the British army. Cyprus Independence Day is celebrated with festivals at schools and communities with a military parade.

Greek National Day marks the beginning of the War of Independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. Having remained under Turkish occupation for 400 years the Greeks took arms and liberated their country. Celebrations take place with veterans as well as school pupils.

Nearly everything is closed on Christmas day, except for maybe some restaurants and hotels. Christmas Eve is generally a working day in Cyprus, with shops open until at least lunch-time; during December supermarkets and some other shops open on Sundays as well as during the week. The following day, 26th of December, also called Boxing Day, is also a public holiday.

Take note of these Cyprus Bank Holidays, you never know when you have to refer to them.

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