Apokria (carnival) in Greece

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The roots of carnival in ancient Greece

The roots of these traditions found in ancient Greece and particularly in Dionysian festivals. like festival and festivals in Thrace, etc.

Attica Flower Festival Dionysian festival

The Flower Festival was an annual celebration of the rebirth of nature and celebration of the dead lake in honor of Dionysus and Hermes Xthoniou. There was in Athens during the month Anthestiriona (late February – early March) for three days. The name of the festival is likely the flowers and associate with the custom of the second day of choes year-olds to the boys crown with flowers.

Because the Anthestiria was feast of flowers had previously supported the view that the name of the whole festival Anthestiria not associated with flowers, but with the verb “anathessasthai” means the withdrawal of the soul (heart attack but the intention is by nature the Ionic dialect) and is associated with the etymology of the third day of the festival was dedicated to the souls of the dead.

Summarize the events of three days of Anthesteria were:

Day 1 Pithoigia

  • Opened jars with new wine
  • They used to bring the first wine in the sacred lake of Dionysus
  • libations were doing outside the closed temple of God, in honor of wishing to consume a successful new production
  • tasted the same wine and danced and sang thanking Dionysus
  • that day and the next, the Athenians allowed the slaves to drink with them.
Διόνυσος και Σάτυροι με μάσκες, σε πομπήDionysos and satyrs with masks on parade

2nd day libations

  • was the processional entrance of Dionysus in the city on a boat with wheels
  • on the ship was disguised as followers of God Dionysus. They were disguised as satyrs and teased the world with profanity, creating fun and joy and comic mood.
  • The masked satyrs wore mask – a mask. masks and clay were similar to each other.
  • Other satyrs wore animal skins, smear their faces with calculus (dregs of wine) and crowned with ivy, the evergreen plant sanctuary of Dionysus.
  • The Satyrs were trying to look like a tragic, tragic characteristic is the high propensity to sexually.
  • The Satyrs jumping around the boat wheeled Dionysus hitting the earth with their feet. (Maybe from here came the word carnival means having karnavallizo vallismos the checkbook dld pidihtos dance voskimaton. Isyhios In kάrnos; ftheίr .voskima , sheep n ). The voskima generally can be goat, goat, sheep.
  • become the “sacred marriage” of the god with his wife king archon, the vassilina, who was head of the priesthood and religious dignitaries of all of Athens.
  • There was wine drinking games
  • The afternoon of Xoon customary street “century of locomotives loidoriai, ie teasing against Diavata customary and celebration of Lina.

Day 3 Chytroi

  • cooked multigrain (medley, boiled wheat), which is dedicated to the chthonic Hermes, the psychopompos. Tradition explains the medley is that those who survived the Flood of Deucalion, cooked “kettle medley.
  • Day Chytroi believed that the souls came back to the upper world were invisible among the living.
  • They believed that even among the souls there, and presence of evil spirits that rose to earth by opening the underworld and infected people and their foods.
  • put around their sacred red thread operated stick and prevent the spirits from entering.
  • Also to prevent them from entering their homes smear doors with tar and chew trimming.
  • The bad spirits of the underworld, along with the souls were entering their homes by the evening of Xoon and stayed alive with a day of Xytron, drove the next day with the famous phrase: “Thyraze Kares essential yy ‘Flower Festival’ ie “leave the souls of the dead, the Anthestiria over now.”
  • The Tankers was a celebration that was on the third day of Anthestirion in remembrance of those who drowned in the deluge of Deucalion:
    “Ydroforia, the day mourning Athinisin per Meanwhile apolomenois cataclysm.
    During this festival threw bread wheat and honey in a gap that existed in the temple of Zeus Olympia because of the gap that they believed that the earth had absorbed water of the flood.



The Tradition of Apokries / Karnavali
(Apokries may also be spelt Apokreas, Apokrias)

By Missokalou Maria, Vlachou Maria

Carnival in Greece…. celebration … a chance to escape everyday monotony
and enter into a world of party, fantasy, jinks and ‘kefi’ (high spirits) … a
feast of dance, wine and meat before the sacrifices and fasting of Lent.

In Greece the Carnival started in Ancient times, believed to be as a worship
to Dionysos, the God of Wine and Feast.  In the Orthodox tradition Apokries
is the preparation period before Lent. Apokries means literally saying
goodbye to meat  – Apoxh apo kreas –  apo-kreas.  In Latin the roots of the
word Carnival has the same meaning – ‘carne’ is meat and ‘vale’ goodbye.

Apokries runs for 3 weeks immediately preceding Lent.

In 2011 Apokries runs from Sunday 12th February to Sunday 6th March 2011.

Clean Monday (‘Kathara Deftera’ or ‘Kathari Deftera’) falls on Monday
7th March 2011.

First Week of Apokries – from Sunday 12th February 2011
Apokries starts with the opening of the book of the Triodion, the 3 holy

Second Week- Meat week
Officially the last week of eating meat until after Lent.
Tsiknopempti – Thursday of meat week.
Tsikna is the smell of burning meat. It was the custom on Tsikonpempti for
everyone (including the poor) to charcoal grill meat and to melt fat over it so
the smell of  ‘burning’ meat permeated whole villages.
It is still the tradition to eat meat on Tsiknopempti, although nowadays it is
usual to go to a taverna for the meat feast. You’ll find that tavernas
everywhere are packed and many have live music too. Another glendi!

Third Week – Cheese Week
this week was also called ‘White Week’ as people ate mostly dairy
products and eggs. Meat was forbidden from Monday of cheese week until
after Lent. Many people still adhere to this.
Women never washed their hair during this week as it was said it would
turn white if they did.

Tyrofagis Sunday
The final day of Apokries, and it’s also the last day until after Easter that
weddings  are allowed to take place. The Orthodox Church still follows the
tradition that no weddings or celebrations can take place during the 40 days
of Lent.
The old tradition says don’t get married on this day; if you do it will be an
unhappy marriage!
Carnival parades are held on this, the last day of Apokrias.

Clean Monday – 7th March 2011
The day after Tyrofagis Sunday is  ‘Kathara Deftera’ , also called ‘Kathari
Deftera’,  or Clean Monday, which falls on 7 March 2011.
Clean Monday marks the end of Apokries and is the first day of Lent
Fasting starts today and traditionally no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products or
oil are allowed to be eaten for the 49 days leading up to Easter.
Clean Monday is a Bank Holiday in Greece and also seen as the start of
springtime; it is celebrated by an excursion to the mountains or the beach to
enjoy a Lenten picnic or taverna meal, and fly a kite!

(Pronounced ‘mask – a – ra – des’  in Greek)

During the three weeks of Apokries children, teenagers and adults alike
dress up in (often outrageous!) disguises and masks and visit the houses of
friends and neighbours who try to guess the identities of the masqueraders.
The town and village cafés, tavernas and bars are also visited by
masqueraders, usually armed with cans of foam, streamers and confetti.

Weekends, and the final carnival weekend in particular, are the most
popular periods for dressing-up and many masked balls, dances and
children’s parties are held at various venues throughout the three week
carnival period.

Apokries culminates with the Grand Carnival Parades, a number of which are
held throughout Crete and Greece, usually on the last day of Apokries –
Sunday 6th March in 2011.


2 Responses to Apokria (carnival) in Greece

  1. Nice post! I\’ll tweet it!

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