In a country where nearly 99% of the population are officially Greek Orthodox Christian, being devoted to the ancient gods of Olympus is a rarity. But there are some Greeks who are devoted to the country’s ancient religious traditions. They gather every July to worship the deities of their ancestors and take part in an array of events at the mythic mountain nearly 3,000 metres. This year was no exception with several hundred ascending to Olympus wearing their ancient tunics, women and men with wreathes and branches in their heads stood in silence as they observed the rituals and customs of the ancient times. The annual pilgrimage started in 1996 and attracts a hodgepodge of people. History buffs, athletes, extreme right nationalists, even some curious about this counterculture are some of the groups that make up this strange gathering. They take part in a variety of events, like discussions on the aspects of the religion, crafts or theatre wokshops over the couple of days the whole event lasts. The Orthodox Christian faith is the prevalent religion in the country, but glorious ancient past can be seen everywhere one goes.
Ancient Greece’s pantheistic religion is not officially recognized by the state, and its few thousand adherents have created social organizations to organize their event — most met with muted disapproval by the church.