Greek Carnival traditions
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Greek Carnival traditions

Corfu ● Galaxidi ● Ioannina ● Karpathos ● Kozani ● Methoni Messinia ● Naousa ● Skyros ● Thessaloniki ● Xanthi ● Zakynthos ● 16 March 2017
 

A traditional offshoot of the ancient Dionysian festivals, Carnival in Greece has customs, whose roots go back in the antiquity.


Carnival is not only a festival before Easter, but it also marks the coming of spring and the blossoming of new life. Many places in Greece have their own ways to celebrate the Carnival. In Xanthi Thrace, on the last Sunday of the Carnival, before Clean Monday, the locals gather to watch the burning of an effigy, and it is believed that thus, they banish the evil spirits.


On the island of Corfu, on the same day, after a parade, which reminds of the Venetian Carnival, another effigy, the King of the Carnival is burnt, while in Zakynthos, an Ionian island which is also influenced by the Venetian Carnival, the locals re-enact customs of the 16th century, such as a traditional Venetian wedding with impressive costumes.


In Thessaloniki, men are decked out in black and red costumes with colourful headgear and heavy bells, and they spill out noisily in the streets, while in Skyros, in the island complex of Sporades, the islanders are dressed up as old men with black capes, masks, shepherd's sandals and goat bells, just like the troupe of God Dionysus in ancient Greece.


In Kozani and Ioannina, the neighbourhoods are illuminated by large flames, in a custom that has to do with the ancient belief of the purifying power of fire. In Methoni Messinia, in southern Peloponnese, on Clean Monday, takes place a satirical marriage between two men in costumes, known as Koutroulis' Wedding, which is followed by dancing until the dawn.

In Karpathos, in the south-eastern Aegean, also on Clean Monday, the locals stage the Peoples' Court of Immoral Acts, as a way to clean and prepare the state for Lent. In Galaxidi, near Delphi, at the start of Lent, there is a battle with flour, a custom that has its roots in Byzantine Times.


In Naousa Imathias, in Central Macedonia (Greece), Carnival is known as Boules, after the word bouloukia (=bunches), which is used to describe the group of people dancing around the streets of the city.


Where to Stay

Hotel in Samos, Greece Apollon Hotel
Apollon Hotel
Pythagoreion, 83103 Samos, Greece

Hotel Apollon is an 8-minute walk from the beach and 1.5 km from the picturesque port of Pithagoreion village in Samos. The island's airport is at 1.6 km, while Vathi, the capital of Samos, is at 15 km. Karlovasi port is 36 km away from the hotel.

Hotel in Kythira, Greece Athena Hotel
Athena Hotel
Mylopotamos, 80100 Kythira, Greece

Athena Hotel is located in the traditional village of Mylopotamos in beautiful, unspoiled Kythira island. Famous waterfalls of Mylopotamos are at 900 m. Kythira National Airport is at 10.5 km, while Diakofti Port is 21 km away. Kythira has a ferry connection with Gytheio, Kissamos (Crete) and Piraeus (Athens).

Studio & Appartment in Thassos, Greece Blue Sky Boutique Apartments
Blue Sky Boutique Apartments
Skala Potamias, 64004 Thassos, Greece

Blue Sky Boutique Apartments is located in Skala Potamias, just a 6-minute walk from the long and sandy Golden Beach. Limenas, the capital and Port of the island, is 12.4 km away.


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