Final preparations are underway for the Patra Carnival, the largest event of its kind in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe, which begins on Saturday.
The history of the “Patrino karnavali” held in this western Greek city goes back more than 180 years.
The theme of 2019’s festival is “The Carnival that Makes History and Brings Back Memories.”
In actuality, the carnival is not a single event but a variety of events, which include balls, parades, a hunt for hidden treasure and a special children’s carnival, amongst others.
The festivities reach a climax in the last weekend of Carnival, just before “Clean Monday” before the beginning of Great Lent, with the Saturday evening parade of carnival groups. Then on Sunday, there is an even more extravagant parade featuring more floats and marching groups.
The final event of the Patra Carnival features the ritual burning of the “carnival king” at the St. Nikolaos Street pier in Patras’ harbor.
The Patra festivities have become well-known for their charming spontaneity, improvisation, and creativity, as well as the volunteerism exemplified in the work of all of the citizens who make the carnival possible every year.