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Festival island

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The Cretans love a glendi (party) and festivals are celebrated with plenty of eating, drinking, live music and dancing. Here are some of those which celebrate local harvests (check locally for specific dates):

Chestnut Festival Élos and Prásses, West Crete, end of October. The village squares are packed with tables and chairs as the villages celebrate the local chestnut harvest with eating, drinking, dancing, and roast chestnuts, of course.

Sardine Festival Néa Hóra, Haniá. The first Monday in September is the date for this annual festival at the small harbour by the town beach, with plentiful free fish and wine with local musicians and dancers.

Sultana Festival Sitía, in August. The region is well known for its sultana production, and the harvest is celebrated with traditional Cretan music and dance in the main square, accompanied by food and wine.

Tsikoudiá (Raki) Festival Haniá, Iráklion and Voukoliés, mid-October and early November. At the end of the grape harvest the must-residue from the wine press is boiled and distilled to make tsikoudiá, the local fire water. Hot tsikoudiá, with an alcohol content as high as 60 percent, is scooped from the vats and proffered in shot glasses, and so the merriment begins.

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