The tradition of carnival in Greece is perhaps best witnessed by attending the country’s biggest celebration in Patras.
The municipality of the port city of Patras is known for its celebrations which are one of the most traditional, oldest and largest carnival gatherings in the country.
Started in 1870, the events include everything from galas and parades to children’s events such as treasure hunts and a children’s carnival. The events last over a period of time which begins around 10 weeks before the Greek Orthodox Easter and lasts up to what the Greeks call “Clean Monday” — known in many parts of the world as “Ash Monday,” or the first day of Lent.
This year the carnival celebrations kicked off on Saturday, January 21 at Agios Georgios Square with a fireworks show and thousands of people in attendance. “Faithful to tradition, Patras continues the most authentic folk festival with the unique carnival, against the economic crisis and unpopular policies, which brutally affected the wider population and its most vibrant and promising part, the young people,” the mayor of Patras, Kostas Peletidis said at the opening ceremony.
The celebrations will conclude with closing ceremonies this weekend as Monday is the religious holiday, “Clean Monday.” You can visit the municipalities website to see the final events here.
Not able to make it to the celebrations? Don’t worry, check out this video that highlights of the festivities at Patras Carnival: