1 November Saint Anargyri, Cosmas and Damianos.
On the 1 of November the practice of people that have fallen ill is to spend the night in the churches dedicated to these saints in Crete.Something also practiced in ancient Greece in the temples of Asklipios the ancient god of medicine.
After spending the night in the presence of the icons representing the saints a service is held and health is restored.
3 of November
Saint George Methistsis.
The barrels of wine are opened on this day and wine flows plenty so does joy!
Archanes the village to the south of Heraklion has a feast where wine and food is enjoyed among family and friends.
In Asi-Gonia in Rethymno the shepherds bless their flocks and milk is given to those attending the blessing of the animals instead of wine.
8 of November Taxiarchis
The celebration of the Archangels protectors of all especially of soldiers all those at war as well as shepherds.
They bring bravery and strength to all those in need and these Arch Angels do not forgive cowardliness.
Celebrated especially in the areas of Sfakia in Western Crete and Malevizi in Eastern Crete.
In the past people would sacrifice or offer on the footsteps of the churches dedicated to the Archangels an animal or leave gifts…The archAngel that can take a life might decide if the sacrifice is to his pleasing to spare a life!
11 November St.Minas
The protector of the barrel makers as well as protector of the city of Heraklion in Crete.
This Saint has a white beard and is portrayed riding a white stallion.
This Saint brings news and warnings is celebrated though all out Crete not only Heraklion. Its a bank holiday in Heraklion for the celebrations are grandeur.He is also the patron saint of the children that are born out of marriage,in the past infants abandoned on the churches steps of St.Minas would be taken in and looked after.
14 November St.Philip
In the Greek Orthodox tradition he is known as St.Philip the poor,the patron saint of all those who wish to make the best of the last maybe warm days of November and finish in time their work with the fields before the cold winter.
Tradition has it that this saint when people sacrificed an animal in his honor the next day the animal was found in the stable…for you see to work the land you need a cow not all the Cretans had the ability to own a cow and even maintain a cow so often enough families shared the cow and the labor of the crops.
16 November St.Matthew
The patron saint of all those working with the manufacturing of copper and bronze tools or utensils originally and today all those working aluminum!
21 November The Admission of the Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary of November,the mid or the end of sowing of the fields.
This celebration is based mainly on the apocryphal Gospels,when Mary turned 3 years old her parents wanted to thank God for the child they had received by offering her to the Temple.We see here the symbolism of purity of the child,so in Crete the unmarried women called Mary celebrate their name day on the 21 of November and the married ones on the 15 of August.
During the celebrations of the admission of Marry in Greek Orthodoxy in Crete the food served in every home is beans, wheat or beans with wheat and sometimes rice,here we can recognize the overlapping of the ancient Greek Goddess Dimitra with the Virgin Mary.
In Chania in Crete as the Cathedral is also dedicated to the admission of the virgin Marry a glorious service is held.
Also in the city of Rethymno
25 November St.Katherine
From Alexandria Egypt, this saint lived during the the 3 and 4 century.2 women of great and Charismatic qualities were born but of very different beliefs in Alexandria during the same period.
Both Women suffered for their beliefs …
Hipatia a mathematician and philosopher Ethnic(pagan)and Catherine a Christian!
Both very beautiful, both very well educated, both very well versed, both refused to marry,both executed.
In Heraklion city the very well known Monastery of St.Katherine of Sinai still stands once a university(Venetian era)today it holds paintings of the Cretan Masters of Iconography.
30 November St.Stelios
The patron saint of the infants and all newly born.
30 November St.Andreas
It is the season the time of the year of the olive crop…on this day food fried in olive oil must be prepared.
Olive oil is offered to the churches for the oil lamps dedicated to St.Andreas,fried food is offered to homes and poor families on this days also.
If by end November it has not rained in Crete,something very disastrous people perform a litany walking through all the dry and thirsty fields hoping for rain…
All saints angels Virgin-Mary icons are taken out to the fields people on their knees praying for the rain.Just like the rituals done in the past in Ancient Greece asking for the help of the Goddess(Dimitra) Demeter.Holy water is sprinkled on the fields in a form of Homeopathic remedy,offerings, long walks and nights spent out in the fields evoking the rain!
The rain arrives soon for the belief and necessity is great.