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Patras Carnival - Parties, Parades, Treasure hunts

Updated on July 18, 2011

Patras Carnival - 40 days of party

Patras carnival with it’s parties parades, treasure hunts and balls is one of Europe’s biggest. For 40 days the citizens of Patras party their way towards lent which in Greek orthodox calendar begins on ache Monday in the beginning of March.

The carnival itself is the variety of entertainment, some mixture of municipal events some private parties in homes, bars, restaurants all over the city. Toward the beginning of the celebration period, the children celebrate with their costumes and parade.

Patras carnival
Patras carnival

Kids party over before the parents starts

One parent said that it’s best to get the kids done and over with while the parents are still sober and that isn’t the case in the last week and a half when all the adults throw caution to the wind and really let their hair down.

Tsiknopempti - the meat eating day

It all begins on Thursday eleven days before ache Monday called Tsiknopempti – a day of meat eating. It’s basically a good excuse for a Bar-B-Que. People set up grills in their homes, even in the street and at midday the whole of the country shuts down for the unofficial half day holiday.

Thursday of Brioling meat - Tsiknopempti

Tsiknopempti is made of two Greek words. One is Tsikna is the smell that comes out of broiling meat and pempti means Thursday in Greek. Greeks eat a lot of meat this day all over Greece in preparation of the Easter lent.

It all starts with a mini parade

In patra a mini parade Harolds the beginning of the tsiknopempti celebrations. Then it’s time to dig in and get a bit tipsy. The partying carries on well into the night. Come the weekend and the grownups party is in full swing. On the Saturday night the mayor throws a ball, the theme is Ballet Park. The Sunday night is however what everyone is waiting for.

Burbuli - beginning of 7 nights of seduction

This is the first of the 7 balls called Burbuli held on 7 nights culminating on the Sunday before ache Monday the women come in cloaks and masks called dominos. Their admission is free. The men on the other hand pay and come in their every day suite. Tonight the men are the victims as the women set out to seduce them.

Burbuli, the beginning of the end of a marriage

Back at the end of 1800s all the men used to have fun in the carnival. Somebody came up with the disguise for the ladies and that’s Burbuli which can now a day’s be the beginning of the end of a marriage. So even though it’s time to forget all and let loose there are still things to be wary about.

Last weekend's parade

If you enjoyed 7 days of seduction with your marriage intact then you can enjoy the culmination of carnival’s last weekend’s parade. These are mammoth extravaganza attracting over 50000 people.

Effigy Burnt, Party Over

On the Saturday there’s an evening parade and on Sunday the grand parade kicks off at 2 in the afternoon and takes most of the day to wind its way through the city. At night the effigy of the carnival king is burnt and the party is over for another year. All that’s left is to get over your hangover and decide just how you’re going to make it through lent.


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    • writeido profile image

      writeido 6 years ago

      Yes Cathy, you must, it's an awesome festivals with tons of colors, costumes and people to see.

    • Cathy I profile image

      Cathy I 6 years ago from New York

      Great article....very inviting. Make me want to go visit at that time and participate in the festivities and all the eating. I love the photography as well. It is interesting to read about carnival in another culture. The caribbean celebrates carnival and so I see the similiarities as well as the differences.

    • writeido profile image

      writeido 6 years ago

      Thanks writingale. It really should be a carnival on every one's TO GO list :).

    • writingale profile image

      writingale 6 years ago from Land of the Green

      wow nice place to party and it a great fun for kids .....

      i really liked your articles .... great inspiration for me to start over