'Apokries,' Greece's famous Carnival season has kicked off for 2020!
The three-week-long celebrations come before Greek Pascha and culminate on the weekend before ‘Kathara Deftera’ (Clean Monday), the first day of Lent, which falls on March the 2nd this year.
The Carnivale is a feast of good fun that takes place all over the country with masquerades, dancing, music, and parties. The name 'Apokries' means abstention from meat (apo kreas) because, after that, the period of Easter Lent begins, where there is no meat consumed for 40 days, this is during 'Sarakosti'.
The characteristic of Carnival is disguising and wearing costumes and masks and this festival dates back to the period of Dionysos, the ancient Greek god of wine and fertility. Even today, in certain local carnivals, like that of Tyrnavos, fertility and the phallus are celebrated, and songs related to this topic are performed.
The biggest Carnivale that takes place in Greece is that of Patras, however, there are many great carnivals that also take place in Xanthi, Crete, Naxos, Mytilini, Thessaloniki, and Ikaria.
Athens has also started celebrating 'Apokries' this week, so if you are around Syntagma, Monastiraki, Thissio, and the Acropolis Museum, you will be sure to find people participating in the fun events all around the Greek capital.
Those taking part will pay tribute to Greece’s folk traditions and will present local carnival traditions, which feature impressive costumes and music in a procession through the streets of Plaka. Entrance to all events is free of charge.
In 2020 Apokries runs from Sunday the 9th of February 2020, right through to Sunday the 1st of March, 2020.
‘Kathara Deftera’ (Clean Monday) falls on Monday the 2nd of March 2020.