Carnival! The opportunity to have fun!

karnavali Carnival! The opportunity to have fun!

The carnival in Greece has its roots since the ancient times and is inextricably linked with the adoration of god Dionysus, the most hilarious god of all. The English wordcarnival derives from the Latin “carnem levare” or “carnis levamen”, which means having a break from eating meat. In Greek the word “carnival” has the same meaning and signifies the beginning of Lent. Dozens of local carnivals are being organized all over the country, which are presented below:


The Patras’ Carnival is the largest in Greece, with more than 35,000 participants and lasts approximately 20 days. The parade of the chariots along with the burning of the King of Carnival, are means to farewell Triodio through crazy rhythmic celebrations. “Bourboulia”, is another custom in Patra, where women dance and flirt with other men, under the anonymity provided by a mask and domino clothes, in contrast to men who are dressed normally.

The Carnival of Xanthi, the biggest in the Balkans, is part of Thracian Folk Festivals. The celebration of Carnival ends with the parade of the chariots and the burning of the mock up body of the czar.

In Thebes, the “Vlach wedding” is reenacted every Ash Monday. The celebration starts with matchmaking of two young, their marriage and the parade of dowry. The carnival ends with the colorful feast of in-laws, accompanied by local musical instruments.

In Kozani the dance of the carnival starts with the custom of “lamp”, namely the lighting of fire in every city neighborhood!

In Naoussa, the locals are dressed in “Boules” or “mobs”, wearing masks and wedding dresses. This unique traditional ritual has its roots from the ancient times.

The Carnival of Moschato, is the most famous in Attica. The Triodio closes with a glorious parade accompanied with masqueraders, mostly inspired by the current headlines, while the Brazilians wearing fancy costumes hold a predominant place.

In Zakynthos’ Carnival, the masqueraded revive the Venetian marriage, Gkiostra and funeral of the mask, in order to farewell Halloween in a climate of laughter, mirth and satire.

The Carnival of Rethymno is one of the most well known in Greece. The imagination and passion dominate the whole party of the Halloween, with a brilliant parade of chariots and impressive costumes by the masqueraders.

In Karpathos, residents and visitors pass by the People’s Court for Immoral Acts, to get their trial and begin partying.

In Galaxidi, residents and visitors are entertained with “alevromoutzouromata”.

In Carnival of Kefalonia particular interest makes the parade of the Philharmonic and the dance of “quadrille”.

In Ioannina the signal for the start of the feast, is made with “Tziamales.” Fire in every neighborhood of the city leading to frantic eating-drinking and dancing.

In Corfu the arrival of canvassers, of Sior Carnival, gives the signal for the start of the carnival celebration, being later on burned in the harbor.

In Chios, the Aga judges and fines those who are present in Mesta Chios.

In Carnival of Skyros, the jingles of the “old man”, the dancing of his beloved “Corelli”, around him, and the whistle of shells that hold the “Franks”, is one of the most impressive traditional customs of Halloween.

In Amfissa, the “night of ghosts”, the “Bell” trying to chase away the evil spirits that afflict the tanners, with the representation of “Elements of Charmaina”.

In Naxos the “koudounatoi” have a field day. Accompanied by the “oldman”, the “old lady” and “bear”, they walk around the streets, making noise. Everyone can observe other traditions, such as the “marriage of the bride”, the “Death”, the “Resurrection” and the “plowing”.

In Livadia, every neighborhood creates its own “Maypole” with floats and masqueraders.
In Kalamata the parade of the Philharmonic, is the representation of the “Vlach Wedding” and the established “Maypole”.

In Methoni there is… “Koutrouli’s wedding” (a Greek saying that means “merry making or commotion”).

In Messina, they light up “fires” and start the enacting of local customs. Whereas on Shrove Monday the representation of execution of the old lady, Sykous, in “Hangman takes place”.

In Serres the pleasurable theater of the “Monk” stirs up all the houses.

In Grevena, the “Lagkotsaria” or “Anakatosaria” is the ultimate opportunity for dancing and singing.

In Arta and Preveza, the carnival has female gender. People get dressed as masqueraders and parade in the city center.

In Tyrnavo, you must first play the game so as to taste the magical ‘Burana’ at the end.

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