Defiant Athens to Celebrate Carnival Season Despite Coronavirus Fears



The spread of the coronavirus in Europe is not discouraging the Greek people, who are all set to participate in this year’s Carnival season, or “Apokries.”

Cities and towns throughout the country have made ready for the colorful festivities which culminate on “Kathara Deftera,” or Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent, which falls on March the 2nd this year.

For this year’s Carnival season, the Culture, Sports & Youth Organization of the City of Athens (OPANDA), together with Technopolis City of Athens, have co-created a vibrant program of events.

The city streets will be filled with confetti, masks, capes and hats while percussion and bass drums give the rhythm to the festivities.

Harlequins, pierrots and clowns will be cavorting near Acropolis Hill, the city center and all around Athens’ neighborhoods, carrying us away from our daily troubles with their joyful tunes.

For 17 days, 32 spots around Athens will be hosting more than 60 festive activities, with free admission to all. The carnival agenda has it all: concerts, music tours, serenades, performances and parades.

There will also be a revival of traditional Athenian carnival customs, as well as a treasure hunt, dancing, satirical songs, tarantella dance sessions, guitars, mandolins, ocarinas and bass drums accompanied by Afro-Brazilian percussion.

The Carnival events program has also provided for our younger carnival enthusiasts, including plenty of activities for kids and families: educational programs and art workshops invite little ones to don their costumes, experiment with age-old traditions while creating and playing at their own pace.

On Friday the 28th, Saturday the 29th of February and Sunday the 1st of March, many Greek artists will be entertaining us in a series of special concerts under the Acropolis.  Traditional Carnival festivities will be celebrated on Kathara Deftera (“Clean Monday”).

The peak of the Carnival period comes on that day, the 2nd of March, at Filopappou Hill, where everyone is invited to fly kites and celebrate the tradition of “ Koulouma.” The headlining act of this festive day is GogoTsampa, the singer who almost singlehandedly revived revelers’ interest in traditional Greek Carnival folk music.

The mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, declared that this will be “Another great opportunity to see Athens dressed in colors and festivities. We have carefully designed a number of Carnival events, so that Athenians of all ages, as well as our visitors, feel that they belong here.

“It’s the Carnival itself which has this familiar, sweet taste of tradition, while at the same time is in an open dialogue with the fresh and the new! It’s the Carnival itself that’s not afraid to have fun, to dress up in the craziest colors and laugh out loud.”

With information from AMNA