x

Society

Greeks Revel in Carnival after Pandemic Pause (Photos)

February 27, 2023

NAXOS, Greece — Throngs of revelers across Greece attended end-of-Carnival celebrations this weekend for the first time in four years.

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the festivities held before the beginning of Lent in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

On the island of Naxos, which hosts some of the most colorful Carnival events in Greece, the number of young people taking part soared this year.

Many of the customs observed are based on rituals from celebrations of the changing seasons that predate antiquity, while others are more recent.

In the latter category is the Lampadiforia, or Torch Parade, held on Naxos that features a procession of young men and women holding torches on poles and with their faces painted to resemble black-and-white masks.

It first took place on the Saturday night preceding Lent in 1994, dreamed up by young members of a local cinema club. About 50 of them went out into the street that year, screaming and dancing while holding torches, and startling other people as they paraded toward the Temple of Apollo.

This year, well over 2,000 torch bearers joined the parade, dancing to the beat of drums along the maze of the narrow streets in old town Naxos to a central square where a scarecrow was burned.

In other parts of Naxos and mainland Greece, young men wearing cow bells and carrying a phallic symbol — a common feature of ancient rites celebrating spring — danced their way to village squares on Sunday.

Other customs included young men wearing folk costumes and holding thick canes making their way to neighboring villages, where they invite local women to dance. The women, in turn, offer the men local delicacies and wine.

In Orthodox Christian countries, Lent, as well as Easter, are celebrated at different times than in primarily Catholic countries because they use different calendars. Greek Orthodox Easter is usually a week later than Catholic Easter.

Carnival celebrations also took place this weekend in Cyprus.

Young men and women with faces painted wear white sheets and hold torches on long poles, take part at the Torch Parade (Lampadiforia) on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, late Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A musician performs as young men and women with faces painted wear white sheets and hold torches on long poles, prepare for the Torch Parade (Lampadiforia) on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, late Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A woman and participants with faces painted wear white sheets and hold torches on long poles, take photos of the Torch Parade (Lampadiforia) on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, late Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Local residents wearing folk costumes parade during a traditional custom called Kordelatoi, in the village of Kourounochori, on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Local residents wearing folk costumes cheer during a traditional custom called Kordelatoi, in the village of Galini, on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Local residents wearing folk costumes dance during a traditional custom called Kordelatoi, in the village of Kourounochori, on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Young bell ringers (Koudounatoi) dance during a traditional custom, in the village of Apeiranthos, on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A bell ringer (Koudounatoi) dances during a traditional custom, in the village of Apeiranthos, on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Young bell ringers (Koudounatoi) take a break during a traditional custom, in the village of Apeiranthos, on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A woman shouts, as men and women with faces painted wear white sheets and hold torches on long poles, take part at the Torch Parade (Lampadiforia) on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos, Greece, late Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

RELATED

ATHENS - Greeks and residents in the country often have to jostle with tourists to find space on public beaches being taken by businesses in violation of the Constitution but if you know where to look some unspoiled spots can be found.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Indians Vote in the First Phase of the World’s Largest Election as Modi Seeks a Third Term

NEW DELHI (AP) — Millions of Indians began voting Friday in a six-week election that's a referendum on Narendra Modi, the populist prime minister who has championed an assertive brand of Hindu nationalist politics and is seeking a rare third term as the country's leader.

KOS - A one-year-old girl on the island of Kos died from choking on food, a forensic examination determined, and there weren’t any signs of sexual abuse which was originally thought involved.

BARCELONA, Spain  — Casper Ruud took his revenge against Stefanos Tsitsipas by winning the Barcelona Open final in straight sets on Sunday for his biggest career title, a week after losing to the Greek in the Monte Carlo Masters final.

DENVER  — Unlike their crowd that drowned out the Los Angeles Lakers' pregame introductions, the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets were a little late to the playoff party Saturday night.

MADRID — With a late strike by Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid took a huge step toward winning the Spanish league.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.