Sheep Festival in Assi Gonia - Why Chania Festivals Guide
Sheep Festival in Assi Gonia – Image Credits: © Adalia Botha on Unsplash

Sheep Festival in Assi Gonia: A Sheep-Shearing Contest


The name day of St George is usually celebrated on the 23rd of April or on Easter Monday. On that day, at Assi Gonia, approximately 60.00 km from Chania, the custom of blessing of the sheep herd is revived – the Sheep Festival. The breeders bring their herds at St George chapel of the Galatas area.


Assi Gonia is one of the most traditional villages in Crete, which maintains customs and traditions from generation to generation. A traditional unspoilt village respecting traditions hundreds of years old. Looking forward to welcoming tourists from all over the world to discover authentic Crete!

In Asigonia you will experience Cretan hospitality and get to meet the locals and their daily rhythms. Asigonia which is in the middle of Crete is a mountain village, surrounded by nature with lots of kinds of trees.

On the 23rd of April, it is the day of the yearly blessing of the sheep and goats, that is in honour of Saint George there is a big festival held every year in Asigonía, Chania.

This tradition is hundreds of years old going on from generation to generation. It is the most important day of the year 23rd of April * for the shepherds and the villagers, as they believe Saint George is the protector of the village. On this day the shepherds begin at 4 o’clock in the morning to bring all of their herds down from the mountains to have them milked. The village square is filled with hundreds of them!

The shepherds take their herds in turn to the church to be blessed by the priest and the shepherds also, to keep them safe for the coming year. Then the shepherds milk their sheep and goats, and afterwards the lukewarm milk is offered to the people gathered, together with cheese and meat – the products from their sheep and goats.

Also, the Cretan sweet rusks called paximadia are offered. It is certainly worthwhile to visit Asigonia on this day! The festival is accompanied by traditional music and dances.

This festival is not always on the 23rd of April.

It is held on when Saint George is celebrated according to the Greek Orthodox tradition and depends on when is the Greek Orthodox Easter. So it is held on April 23rd if Easter is BEFORE the 23rd of April. If Easter is after it, it is held the day after Easter.

Discover more festivals in the Prefecture of Chania

In the summer season, festivals pop one after the other in the culturally restless City of Chania. 

Some of the festivals being held have gained international recognition, and the spotlight is on Chania as a center of groundbreaking cultural events that push forward artistic boundaries and bring new ideas to the table.

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