August 15

August 15 is the third most important religious holiday in Greece after Easter and Christmas. The entire country is virtually shut down, and everyone takes advantage of the long weekend to rest or to light a candle for Panagia (Virgin Mary) who's ascent to the heavens is commemorated during this day.

In this picture Alexandra Tsamba lights a candle at the remote monastery of Panagia Rodia which is nestled in the Vigla mountain and overlooks the fertile Rodia lagoon. She describes how she as a young girl walked with her family for hours through a rough footpath at the slopes of Vigla mountain in order to offer a candle to Panagia. She recalls how they walked almost all day from Aneza during August 14, and then stayed overnight at the monastery before they took the return trip for their village.

Even the most elaborate holidays can acquire a simple meaning in such remote places, with a humble candle and a prayer.

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