The term Carnival refers to the season that comes before that of the Great Lent period. The latter comprises the fortyday time during which Christians fast and prepare themselves in body and soul for Easter. Quite a lot of things have been written concerning the actual use of the specific term. In Greek, the word ``Apokries`` derives from the words ``apo`` and ``kreas`` which means abstaining from meat. This term is synonymous to the term ``Halloween`` as well as `` Carnival`` which derives from the Latin ``carnem levare`` and holds the same rendering.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Nowadays the Carnival period is a time of joy, fun and entertainment. In many cities around the world magnificent carnival festivities as well as parades take place. Two of the most well-known ones are the Carnival of Venice in Italy,
The roots of these events lie in ancient Greece, and more specifically in the cult of the God Dionysus. Dionysus was the god of vineyards and wine. He was honoured with large celebrations which were called Dionysia. The latter included music and dancing parades where a chariot bearing an effigy of Dionysus was followed by dancers and singers disguised with masks singing satirical songs. These celebrations passed from culture to culture accepting influences from various nations.
The Carnival in the city of Patras The Carnival that takes place in the city of Patras, which is situated in the South-Western Greece, is one of the largest of its kind in the whole country, and one of the biggest in Europe. It involves more than 160 years of history. The events usually begin on the 17th of January and last up until Clean Monday. It comprises a variety of events, such as balls, parades and treasure-hunting. Its highlight occurs at the last weekend. During these two days, numerous groups of people dressed in particular costumes overflow the city streets along with spectacular floats usually depicting current events of everyday life and politics. Finally, the ritual burning of The King Carnivalâ€™s float within Patrasâ€™ harbour signals the end of the festivities.
Rethymno's Carnival, on the island of Crete. It’s been one century this year, since a group of people from Rethymno – with optimistic mood and open heart to every pleasant challenge – decides to put some colour to the everyday life of the city, during the Carnival season. So, in 1914 the first Carnival of Rethymno was organized, bringing the original mark of the intentions of the people of Rethymno. Through the years, these intentions turned into actions that exceeded every time the expectations of their inspirers and finally turned to be an amazing event: the Carnival of Rethymno, a live organism, tending to reverse the natural route of life: the “older” it’s getting the better it is becoming!
The Carnival in the city of Xanthi, in Northern Greece The carnival of Xanthi is not just a parade of disguised people and there is no other like it and as it was inspired by a group of its founders who began with the determination and the belief to make it an institution in Thrace and in Macedonia. Not only does it consist of soulless colorful mechanized caricatures but it really consists of folk celebrations with European and domestic bands. And the committee responsible about the organization of the carnival has succeeded as it is said by thousands of people who have attended the celebrations.