Sunday is the peak of Apokries but also the end of ‘crazy’ Greek carnival. The word Αποκριά literally means “off meat”, without meat and marks the beginning of Lent that starts on Clean Monday, the first day of the Great Easter Lent., where people are supposed to eat only cheese and dairy products.
The largest event of Greek Carnival is the Patras Carnival with a big parade through the streets of the city, with costumes, masks and endless street parties on “Cheese Sunday”. The Patras Carnival is in fact a three-day spectacle with parading troupes and many other events.
Patras Carnival Live starts at 2 p.m. local time
Famous is the Night Parade on Foot (Nihterini Podarati) with overwhelming stream of people, colors and high spirits combine to create a spectacular scene.
Last night, more than 30,000 people and 138 troupes joined the Night Parade.
more pictures in thebest.gr
The grand parade of masked troupes and floats is held at noon on Tyrine (Cheese) Sunday, and culminates in the ceremonial burning of the effigy of King Carnival at the Patras harbour.
Patras Carnival has a history of 180 years.
masqueraders pranks and reverly
Other regions host festivities of smaller extent, focused on the reenactment of traditional carnevalic customs, such as Tyrnavos (Thessaly), Kozani (Western Macedonia), Rethymno (Crete), and in Xanthi (Eastern Macedonia and Thrace).
Tyrnavos holds its annual Bourani, the Phallus festival, a traditional “phallkloric” event in which giant, gaudily painted effigies of phalluses made of papier-mâché, wood, clay or bread dought are paraded, and which women are asked to touch or kiss. Their reward is a shot of the famous local tsipouro, a high-percentage alcohol spirit.
This custom has made Tirnavos famous. Shrove Monday is a day of merry moral freedom or laxity of morals during which the rules of decent behavior are temporarily violated. The use of sexual and love symbols are combined with the traditional folk manifestations. Strictly speaking, the “bourani” is a folk fare but in essence, it is a phallus festival that symbolizes the reproduction and fertility.
This pagan fertility festival in honor of the god Dionysus and Bacchus marks the beginning of the Greek Orthodox fasting period before Easter, therefore it is held on Clean Monday. Due to the intense pagan roots of the festival and its irreverence, the Greek Orthodox Church does not approve of the event.
The Tyrnavos Carnival, which has a hundred-year old history, is possibly the only carnival to have come under strong attack and criticism, as some consider it to be an affront to the principles and customs of this particular time of year. But banning the events has never daunted the people of Tyrnavos, who went so far as to celebrate in secret, as the festival is for them an inextricable element of their cultural tradition.
“Yogurt Battles” and “Foam battlefields” in Nafplio.
In Preveza, Epirus, tradition since the 1960’s is the Women’s Carnival. It started with a group of women who decided to wear costumes and visit home’s of relatives and friends.
More pictures pamepreveza
Young and old women wear costumes and take to the streets on Saturday.
Thousands of carnivalists took to the streets of Xanthi, in North-East Greece. More pictures in xanthinews
In Kozani, Macedonia, locals light the Fanos (Fire), a centuries-old tradition from the times when farmers would light a fire and dance around it exorcise the evil and invite the good to bless their hard work.
Carnival festivities and rituals is the last chance for people to eat and drink well before the 40-day Lent. Ban the evil spirits and the hardships of winter and look towards spring and the light.