Carnival, which is referred to as “Apokries” in Greek, is an interesting time in Greece. Celebrated annually, the dates of Carnival vary depending on when Easter is. It is a fun celebration replete with street parties, masquerades, and parades; and the people feel as if they need to enjoy indulgences, such as meat, which they won’t be consuming during lent. Here’s more information about this fun time of year:
Origin of Carnival
The word “carnival” is derived from a combination of Latin words; Carne and vale which translate to “goodbye to meat”. As exciting as it may sound, this period marks the days before Christian fasting at the onset of Easter festivities. Historically, the Carnival is relatable to the early Greek pagan rituals that included worshipping Dionysus. He was highly revered, believed to be the God of fertility, dance, agriculture, and fun.
Greek Carnival Activities
From the start, the Greek Carnival activities are spread out over three weeks. Highly anticipated every year, the first week of these celebrations raises the curtain with well-defined church celebration. The second week (Kreatini) is a little bit different as everyone is allowed to eat meat every day. Of importance in the second week is Thursday which is christened Tsiknopempti.
This is a great family day out with expectations of getting to the tavern and relishing mouthwatering grilled meat chops. This is the day when party mood sets in as masquerades make their way into the Greek Carnival.
Last Week Before Lent
The biggest Carnival celebrations take place during the final week before Lent. Known as Tyrini or Cheese/White week, this is when individuals are limited to consume only fish and dairy products with no meat expected in the dishes. The Carnival events end on the Clean Monday famously known as Kathara Deftera and have to do with the dietary restrictions.
Aside from the dietary restrictions, people enjoy Greek Carnival for the funny disguises, costumes, and regalia. Many find that these things offer anonymity and the ability to enjoy the freedom of expression.
Apokries Celebrations in Various Cities
While activities follow specific guidelines, street celebrations and parades take place throughout Greece. Celebrations in some cities stand out more than others. Pay attention to places like Patras and Galaxidi.
Patras Carnival features kids-only celebrations that are highlighted by massive parades of school kids. It is described as the most famous Carnival in Greece. The conclusive events include a large burn at the stake of Carnival’s king. It also features enormous parades of floats and funnily costumed participants.
The Galaxidi celebrations take place in mainland Greece. Among the key events that highlight these celebrations are the traditional flour battles. It is credited for attracting local and international tourists who get puzzled by the unknown legacies and justifications for these battles.
Greek Carnival (Apokries) is a peculiar cultural event. It has both antique and Christianity allusions, no wonder it attracts attention across the globe. As an anthropological jewel, these celebrations lighten the Greek mode. Celebrants wander across the streets while engaging in pranks. With participants free on the streets, loud music adds to the beauty of the three weeks event.