If you’ve ever been to a Greek wedding, you know that Greeks love to party. Not only do they love it and find just about any excuse for it, but they know how to do it right. Platters full of tatsiki, kebabs, pita, and feta cheese mixed with buckets of Ouzo Liquor and live music fuels a party like no other.
And so when Carnival rolls around every year in late January, all Greeks indulge in their passion for parties. Unlike Carnival in Rio, which only lasts a week or so, Carnival in Greece is characterized by months of street festivals, film festivals, concerts, competitions and events. If you’re ready to go, you can check for flights to Greece with ease by checking out reputable sites like First Choice, Thomas Cook or Last-minute to name a few places.
There’s so much going on in every city around Greece that it’s hard to know where to go and what to do.
In order to help make sense of the madness, below you’ll find some of the coolest festivals happening around Greece during Carnival and the weeks following
History Of Carnival
Like Carnvial in the Catholic world, the Greek Carnival begins three weeks before the 40 day Lenten fast begins. However, since the Greeks are orthodox and utilize the Julian calendar, this puts Carnival between the 24th of January and the 14th of February.
One of the reasons the Greek Carnival is so renown is that the Greeks invented it. It originally begin with the ancient celebration of the good of wine and joy Dionysus. It later inspired the Christian concept of Carnival.
The Best Cities to Experience Carnival
While there are many cities with long traditions of Carnival, the city of Patras is considered to be the modern birthplace. As such they host one of the largest parties and put on one of the biggest parades. Last year, 40,000 people took part.
Athens is also an exciting place to be for Carnival. Here, each neighborhood parties based on unique traditions. In the streets Plaka for example, they celebrate smoke Thursday with an array of street BBQ’s. And on Athenas street, various bands preform.
Finally, Corfu is also an interesting place to be for Carnvial. As a result of their Venetian past, their Carnival is characterized by many Venetian traditions.
Where ever you end up going to, good food, live music, and good times can be found in abundance.
Other Fun Festivals In Greece
The Flour Throwing Festival occurs in Galaxida on March 3rd. Like La Tomatina in Spain, this festival is all about making a mess. 1.5 tons of colored flour is thrown on this day. Although it has something to do with the end of Carnival, most Greeks are unsure of how this tradition actually began.
The Thessaloniki Film Festival occurs annually around mid March. It began in 1960 and has since become one of the best place to view new films from filmmakers all over Eastern Europe and the world. It shows on average over 150 films to over 70,000 people. Check out this site for more info on cool Greek festivals.
If you’re thinking about heading to Greece for Carnival or one of it’s other many festivals, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll eat well, party with locals, and get a true taste of Greek Culture. And since Greece is relatively inexpensive, as long as you don’t over do it with the Ouzo, you won’t break the bank.