Please wait ...
English
English
French
Japanese
Korean
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
Portuguese
Brazilian
Russian
Italian
Tuskish
Spanish
German
Greek

See what is available in the place you're visiting

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.

Greek carnival

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

Studio & Appartment in Kalavrita, Greece Enastron Guesthouse
Enastron Guesthouse
Kalavrita, 25001 Kalavrita, Greece

Enastron Guesthouse is located in the town of Kalavrita, close to cafes and restaurants. The Ski Center of Kalavrita is 15.3 km away. The nearest airport is Araxos Airport which is 102 km away.

Studio & Appartment in Zakynthos, Greece Studio Stars I
Studio Stars I
Agrilia - Laganas, 28900 Zakynthos, Greece

Offering accommodation in self-catering studios and apartments, Studio Stars I is located just 1 km from the lively center of the cosmopolitan Laganas resort and 2.7 km from Laganas beach. Zakynthos international airport is at 4 km, while the main port in historic and picturesque Zakynthos town is at 5 km. A bus stop can be found just outside the property.

Hotel in Athens, Greece Argo Hotel
Argo Hotel
25, Victor Hugo Str., 10437 Athens, Greece

Argo Hotel is located in the centre of Athens, just a 3- minute walk from Metaxourgeio Metro Station and an 8- minute walk from Omonoia Square. Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is a 35- minute drive.


X