Patras Carnival, also called Patrino karnavali, is one of the most famous carnival in Europe, and the largest event of its kind in Greece. If you ever plan to visit Greece, I recommend you to pick the month of January for it. Not only the weather is excellent, as while the rest of Europe is covered with snow, here you will find optimum temperatures for traveling and discovering this great country. On top of that, in the second part of January, on the 17th, the Greek carnival starts. Patras Carnival has more than 160 years of history and traditions. So what you shouldn't miss?
The Opening of the Patras Carnival takes place on the 17th of January in the Georgiou Square. You will have a blast admiring the pantomimes, the dances and the fireworks... all accompanied by the beautiful Greek music. Now what I really recommend you not to miss is the entrance of the Carnival Queen. With her the Patras Carnival will spread from Athens throughout the Greek nation.
11 days before Ash money, all over Greece, people enjoy roasting and barbecuing meat, for this nation-wide custom called Burnt Thursday. Here I am going to teach you a word that you have to know: Tsiknopempti. It comes from two words: tsikna that stays for the smell of barbecued meat and pempti, that simply means Thursday in Greek. Imagine groups of Greeks, and not only, meeting all over in homes, in taverns even outdoor, in the streets, to enjoy great Greek barbecue accompanied with the inevitable wine and Greek live band music.
The Treasure Hunt Game
What is a carnival without a good game? So here comes into play the Treasure Hunt Game. The first part consists of a car with two women. One is wearing a black domino and the other a bikini. All they have to do is search for hidden items, their only guide being a radio. The total number of participants every year is somewhere around 50 000. Riddles and theater, dances, pantomime, artistic creations and more and more quizzes make this part of the carnival irresistible.
By tradition women do not pay entrance fee to the famous Carnival Dance Hall Ball. It's one of the main attraction of the event. There is though a dress code for the women. They have to be properly closed for a black domino, meaning that they need a dark dress and a mask. Interesting is that the paying customers, the men, come in regular street clothes. And one more detail for you guys, with this occasions, it's the women who invite their dance partners. Yes, it's a very old Greek tradition of empowering females.