The Patras Carnival is the largest event of its kind in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe. Giant decorated cars, carts and coaches, and colourful papier-mâché figures fill the city streets for a full weekend of street parades and parties.
It is one of the biggest street parties you've ever seen. People of all ages dress up in full costume and dance in the street!
The word apokries literally means 'no more meat' (αποχή από κρέας – apo-kreas) and is the term that is used to describe carnival in Greece. Although today the period of apokries is associated with the Orthodox traditions of a three week preparation period before the 40 day lenten fast which precedes Easter, many traditions around Greece have their roots in ancient times. In Ancient Greece there were celebrations at this time of year to commemorate the end of winter and the coming of spring which were associated with the worship of Dionysos, the God of Wine and Feast.
It's hard to believe that this was the first time I visited the Patras Carnival. I totally loved it! The vibe was incredible. People of all ages celebrating and having fun, casting aside their worries and daily concerns to celebrate life, colour and just being alive. This is one carnival I cannot wait to attend again!