The roots of Dimitria, one of Greece's most important cultural institutions, can be traced to the Byzantine Thessaloniki of the 12th century, when the inhabitants established an annual festival to honor the city's patron Saint Dimitrios. As time went by, the festival changed in various ways (it stopped during the Ottoman siege) to eventually acquire its current form in 1966.
Its original name was the New Festival and included no more than 11 events. As time passed the number of events increased, reaching almost 80, and lasted up to 4 months. The festival features music, dance, theater and visual arts, which transform the city into a big and colorful workshop of culture. Nowadays, it lasts one month and usually takes place from mid September to mid October.