Greek people love to dance and it is very true of Ikarians. A lot of festivals (panigiria) are held during spring and summer where one can listen to live music and get a glimpse of the traditional dance of Ikaria, dances of all around Greece, oriental dance and even tango and waltz.
The traditional dance of the island and the song that accompanies it is called Ikariotikos or Kariotikos. The dance consists of three parts, starting with a slower dance which gradually speeds up. Ikariotikos is danced and played at all the celebrations and local fiestas and people of all ages gather around in a big circle, holding each other’s hands. It’s truly magical to watch it happen and be a part of their circle.
Village festivals are a fundamental part of the Icarian culture, so much so that it is not rare to have 2-3 panigiria per week during summer. It is a big social event, people get together, dancing hand in hand, sharing food and wine and only leaving after the crack of dawn (or even later).
An alternative island of Eastern Aegean, Ikaria in Greece is famous for its amazing beaches and the laid back atmosphere. Totally off the beaten track, many beaches in Ikaria are used for naturism and camping. The island is crossed by many hiking trails that lead to mountainous villages, gorges, small bays and vineyards. In fact, wine is among the most popular local products and you can try house wine in all taverns and restaurants around the island. Holidays in Ikaria are just perfect for total relaxation on a place full of inner energy.
Ikarian people are an impressively self-sufficient bunch. By trade many of them work as shepherds who own goats in the tens and a few in the hundreds due to EU subsidies of a certain amount of money given per goat, that some are now clamoring to halt in the dread that within 20 years this lush island will be barren after being munched up by the free-roaming (“rasko”) bearded four-legged creatures). Most men and women farm their own land — with most households tending a private garden of organic fruit, vegetables and herbs — or work as fishermen in the coastal villages, run shops, accommodations or tavernas.