St. Dennis Firework Display 2017
It’s been an age since I’ve published a mid-week post, I have the ideas, just not the time. This post has been on the almost ready list for the past three weeks now and I am so chuffed to have finally put it together.
August 24th is the day when Zakynthos celebrates its local Saint, St. Dennis. The island is crazy busy at this time, but the atmosphere is great. There’s a three-day market, where you may be lucky enough to grab a bargain, but for me, the highlight is always the St. Dennis firework display.
I hate crowds, but I consider the St. Dennis firework display worth crawling out from under the bed for. It’s always well over ten minutes long and quite spectacular for a firework display on a Greek island. Well, that’s my humble opinion.
About St. Dennis
It is said that St. Dennis was an extraordinary man of the cloth, who, not only forgave the man who killed his brother but also helped him escape to the safety. Something that most of us wouldn’t dream of doing.
The story goes that whilst serving as the archbishop in Aegina, St Dennis started suffering from health issues, leading him to resign from his position. On his resignation, he asked to return to Zakynthos, his place of birth, to continue his work.
His request was granted and he returned to Zakynthos as an abbot of the Monastery of Panagia Anafonitria, spending his time helping the poor and less fortunate. However, someone accused him of abusing his authority and in order to avoid scandal he resigned as Bishop.
One terrible night he was approached at the monastery by a man in need of sanctuary. The man admitted to committing a murder and it soon became clear to St. Dennis that the murdered man was, in fact, his own brother. Regardless of this, he said nothing and not only gave sanctuary to the man but also saved his life by helping him to escape to Kefalonia.
After His Death
After his death in 1622, St Dennis was buried at the monastery on Strofades, as was his wish. He felt it was the place that first brought him close to God.
Several years later, in 1717 the Turks invaded Strafades destroying the monastery and slaughtering all but two of the monks there. Those two monks exhumed St. Dennis’ body and found it to be still intact, which was seen as an act of God and a sign that St. Dennis was no ordinary man. His remains were returned to Zakynthos and his body laid to rest in the church of Agios Dionysios, where it remains to this very day.
August 24th is when Zakynthos celebrates the day his body was transported from Strofades to Zakynthos. On that day every year his body is removed from the church and paraded along the harbour front in a Grand Procession. The firework display starts when his body is back in the church to celebrate his return.
1733 was the year St. Dennis was recognised by the church as a Saint.
There is also a procession on December 17th to mark his birthday.
What’s The Evening On August 24th Like?
Zante town gets very, very busy. There was a time when I would avoid going in at all costs. Now I know where to park and where to head for the firework display I do venture in. I have never seen the procession up close though, it’s just too busy for my liking.
If you are in Zakynthos on August 24th and would like to see what it’s all about. My advice would be to park a distance away and walk. I park about a fifteen-minute walk away and it’s perfect because so many people would rather drive into town.
I always find it best to head in at 7 pm (ish), nose around the market (it’s not too busy before the parade and fireworks). The firework display starts at around 9 pm (Greek time) and happens just off the main jetty where the ferries come in. I find the crowds not too bad half way up the jetty and always have a good view of the firework display.
St. Dennis Firework Display 2017
Through My Lens
Have you ever been on Zakynthos during the St. Dennis’ Day celebrations?
© 2017, Debbie. All rights reserved.