Sunday, March 20, 2011

Πατρινό καρναβάλι, Patras Carnival

During the 40-day Lenten fast in Greece, people abstain from meat and animal products.
That is why the 3 weeks before Easter are called Apokreas (abstention apo=from kreas=meat).
Lots of celebrating goes on at this time and Apokreas has become synonymous with festivals of fun and masquerading for all ages (like Mardi Gras minus the beads).

I celebrated Apokreas with my God siblings and their friend
at the Patrino Karnavali (Patras Carnival).
It is the largest carnival in Greece with over 180 years of history.
It is rumored to be the 3rd largest Carnival celebration in the world.
I learned that Patrino Karnavali is Greek for fun.
We painted our faces and went out every night until 9 AM.

On Sunday, we took part in the Grand Parade, well-known all over the world.
It was complete insanity.
There were fireworks, pieces of confetti and silly string everywhere
music was being amplified through large speakers
people lined the streets and those on their balconies tossed us treats.
There were over 200 themed groups and thousands of people dressed in costume.
Our group, "Farmaville" (we dressed as farmers) was the final and largest.
For an hour and a half, we drank, danced and blew our whistles through the streets of Patra.
At one point it began to rain, but that didn't stop us.
It was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced before.

«Πατρινό Καρναβάλι για πάντα
Έλα να μάθεις τι θα πει Πατρινός
Πατρινό Καρναβάλι για πάντα
Έλα να ζήσεις για λίγο τρελός»

Along the drive from Athens to Patra, we stopped at the Isthmus of Corinth

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