Carnival season kicks-off for 2020!
Greece’s Carnival season, known as Apokries, is a period which traditionally begins ten weeks before Greek Orthodox Easter and culminates on the weekend before Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday) the first day of Lent, which is 2nd March this year.
Apokries in Greece is a special and fun-filled time of year celebrated with music, street parades, community spirit and of course food! The name ‘Apokries’ means ‘abstention from meat’. Because after the celebrations the period of Easter Lent begins where no meat is consumed for 40 days.
All over Greece communities prepare for months to plan the celebrations and put on the most spectacular displays.
Preparations begin all over Greece
Apokries is celebrated throughout Greece and the islands. Each part of Greece bares its own customs and traditions.
The central theme and purpose of carnival season is a chance to revel and indulge in good times with friends and family in honour of the ancient Greek god of wine, rituals and fertility, Dionysus.
The most famous and popular of all festivities is the Carnival of Patras.
This spectacle has been ongoing for over 180 years and maintains a strong following with people flocking to the city throughout Greece and the world to partake in the action.
The grand finale of the carnival is a culmination of street parades, dress up parties, masquerades, circus acts, floats, and papier mache figurines all gathered on the streets of Patras heading towards the harbour.
On Ithaki, Carnival season is in full swing
MV Properties loves Carnival season and so try attend all the village festivities. We attended the children’s fete in the square of Vathi on Sunday 16th February.
Children in fancy dress, playing games and dancing provided a festive atmosphere in the square to kick off the first of many events in the weeks to come.
On Saturday 22nd February the town of Stavros, the home of MV Properties held their children’s festival. All the local children and parents thoroughly enjoyed themselves with treats and drink provided by the parents of the community.
There were activities arranged for the children such as colouring in, mask-making and choreographed dancing. The theme for the carnival was ‘A day in Africa’.
The MV Properties team, contributed their time and artistic skill to face painting for the children (and some adults) which really was the cherry on top of the festivities.
In the evening the adults got their chance to dress up and enjoy the festivities. The MV team joined in the fun and enjoyed a night out at the town hall in Vathi.
This weekend sees the culmination of the Apokries for this year on the island of Ithaca. The parade in Vathi on Sunday 1st March brings the community together in one last celebration.
Tsiknopempti is another highlight of Apokries
Tsiknopempti is another must-do event of Apokries. This takes place on the second Thursday of the celebrations. Family and friends gather at their homes to celebrate this day by eating meat – mostly souvlakia- and enjoy the festivities surrounding it. A fitting tradition if you are to give up meat for 40 days!
Carnival offers the community a form of expression.
Traditionally, Carnival season allowed for anonymity and ultimate freedom of speech, action and thinking. Ancient Greek philosophers, playwriters, leaders and artists dedicated their lives work to these principles of which are still relevant today.
Needless to say, the custom of Apokries throughout Greece brings community together – it’s a celebration of our rich traditions, culture and religion with one common goal – expression with a whole lot of fun attached to it.
At MV Properties, the end of carnival season indicates the final weeks of winter and the beginning of the spring and summer season to come.
We expect a busy summer at the office and look forward to bringing you the best properties and service the island was to offer in real estate.
Even though celebrations were cut short for this weekend’s official celebrations, everyone still celebrated and enjoyed the festivities in their own way.
The community got together and continued with the traditions leading up to Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday). Family and friends celebrate by feasting on seafood, taramasalata and traditional bread.
Kites were flown on the mountain top of Exoghi, Anoghi and Vathi. Children (and adults) were in their element.
Overall the weekend was busy, exciting and fun-filled.
Already looking forward to the next.
Until next month,