APOKRIES - CARNIVAL


                                   APOKRIES - CARNIVAL

     Last Sunday was the beginning of the festivities for the Treotheo-Apokries. It is a time (3 weeks) when the christian orthodox prepare for the fasting of the 40-day Lent before Easter (40 days recalling the Gospel accounts of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness). Every Sunday has its own christian and spiritual meaning with stories taken from the Bible.

(Traditional costumes for Apokries/local customs)
        Apokries, which in Greek means "saying goodbye to meat" is, (apart from its spiritual meaning) a time of fun and carefreeness. It is our Carnival!


     Carnival is a festive season that typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. Throughout the Carnival season, people disguise themselves as maskarádes ("masqueraders") and engage in pranks and general revelry. The celebrations culminate with big parades and parties on the last Sunday of Apokries. Then "Clean Monday" follows (I'll explain in another upcoming post).


     The Carnival of Rio De Janeiro is the biggest and most famous Carnival in the world, and the biggest popular party on the planet, according to the Guinness Book of World Records 2010. But, we also have our own famous Patras Carnival.



    Patra holds the largest annual Carnival in Greece; the famous Patras Carnival is a 3-day spectacle replete with concerts, balles masques, parading troupes, floats, a treasure hunt and many events for children. The grand parade of masked troupes and floats is held at noon on Terine Sunday, and culminates in the ceremonial burning of the effigy of King Carnival at the Patras harbour.




    The custom of the Carnival may have originated way back in ancient times from perhaps pagan rituals and the festivities may have changed many names since, but one thing remained the same. The people's disposition/good mood to masquerade, to laugh, have fun and simply celebrate life!
 

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