Unique places to spend Carnival
The roots of carnival events are found in ancient Greece, in the Dionysian cult. During this part of the year, the evil as well as winter were banished with rituals and preparations were made to welcome spring. As the centuries passed, carnival events throughout Greece were shaped by myths, traditions and the special characteristics of each area.
Not far from Athens, one can choose to visit the carnival of Nafplio and be transferred to another era, in “Venetian Nafplio”, an admittedly impressive event! It is known that in Nafplio during the carnival season visitors live unique moments! The energy and passion of the city of Nafplio is captured by the carnival. The Venetian Carnival unfolds with harlequins, jugglers and columbines starting from the Folklore Museum and reaching Syntagma Square. The fun takes off as artists and guests dance to the rhythms of the tarantella, a traditional form of music from Southern Italy. The local cafes and traditional tavernas highlight the aroma and style of carnival!
Further north in Galaxidi, you can experience “flour smearing”. The Galaxidi Flour Wars begun in the mid-19th century and has remained popular since then. In this small fisherman town near Delphi, every year on Clean Monday the most subversive and energetic carnival custom takes place. Around noon, flour fighters armed with sacks of dyed flour fill the streets and the real battles begin. This celebration is accompanied by music and dancing, and lasts until all the bags are empty.
In Thessaly, near the wonderful Meteora, a number of activities make this part of Greece a special place during this season. Since 1982, in Karditsa and within the wider area, the Sofadon Carnival, organized by the Cultural Society of Sofades, satirizes everyday life, political current affairs and more and is dedicated to spread laughter and joy. In 1992, the “Hidden Treasure Hunt” was established and is considered one of the greatest carnival activities for kids with a series of artistic contests for children competing for a final prize. This year, a new venue is organized, the “Festival of Balkan Countries” with music and dance groups from Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Croatia. Another great event, the Gomfoi carnival, takes place in Trikala and has a long history. The village is famous for its festival, when crowds of people flock to enjoy the parade of imaginative floats with sarcastic and satirical themes and rich events that include food, music, dance and endless fun.
A carnival with history and two institutions, the Carnival Committee and the Women’s Carnival, stands out in Preveza and is the first that concerns exclusively women in the whole of Greece. Starting in the early 60s, the Women’s Carnival became the most important cultural event of Preveza and an example that was imitated by other cities in the wider region. In the early years, women gathered in houses and made their own costumes that had a variety of themes. These meetings were particularly pleasant as it was an opportunity to meet, talk and have fun. In subsequent years the groups chose a common theme for their disguises. The subjects they satirize can be current affairs, or disguise as animals, flowers, objects, professions, all given with wit and originality.
The time is counting down for the colorful celebrations of the carnivals in Greece and those of you who are lucky enough to leave the city, choose the one that picks your interest and have fun! Amalia Hotels in Athens, Nafplio, Delphi, Olympia, Meteora and Preveza await guests to enjoy a pleasant stay and Greek hospitality.