15th AUGUST - tHE FESTIVAL
The Panagia tou Kastrou has always been a religious and spiritual centre point for Leros during the long march through the centuries of history, and so every 15th August crowds of people climb up to pay their respects to the Panagia. For the Lerian emigrants, it is a vow that wherever they may be, they will come to Leros on that day to climb up and light a candle. The day before the festival, on the 14th August, many locals and visitors climb up the stairs of the castle in the early evening, with religious devoutness. The steps that lead up to the Panagia start from the square in Platanos. The square is always full of pilgrims on this day. The climbing of the steps is easy for the young and difficult for the older people. A vow is a vow however. Many stop short of the church, either to catch their breath or to admire the view. At the evening service on that day, the eulogies are chanted, and there is a reconstructed funeral procession (epitafios) for the Panagia.
Pantelli is a working fishing village with the fishing fleet returning every morning with their catch. This is then unloaded and packed into crates filled with crushed ice. Beware, if you are staying in Pantelli, anywhere near where this occurs, you will be rudely awoken from your slumbers by the racket this lot make. You can't imagine how much noise crushing ice makes. We didn't have a clue what the noise was until we dragged ourselves out of bed to see what was going on. We left Pantelli rather lacking in sleep.
- Budget Travel