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Carnival > the ancient Goat Festival in Skyros February 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean, Greek Culture.

Carnival in Skyros island  If you have ever yearned to travel back in time, now is your chance with a visit to the ancient Goat Festival in Skyros, to beckon the beginning of Spring, a traditional celebration during the Carnival Season.

People say they want to experience the real Greece and here it is in Skyros as the earliest signs of Spring beckon. The ancient Skyros Goat Festival is an extraordinary celebration, leaving the privileged few non-Skyrians who have the chance to be part of it spellbound and enchanted by its mystery and potency.

Skyros Holistic Holidays has organised this very unusual holiday from February 14-21 on this idyllic island. This company, who pioneered health and well-being holidays in Europe over 20 years ago and now specialise in stress-busting holidays for the 21st Century, offers something very different to world-weary travellers, the chance to rest and recuperate in convivial surroundings with like-minded people. Alongside a Writers Lab this February with Peter Guttridge, author of ‘Cast Adrift’, teaching fiction and comic writing, there are dancing, song-writing, visualisation workshops with experienced facilitators Hazel Carey and Jim Gallagher.

The highlight of the trip is the 5,000 year old Goat festival, which culminates during the week in a heady mix of non-stop partying by day and by night, a 48 hour explosion of revelry and a carnival parade. Villagers in fantastic costumes, half human, half animal, dance in the streets in an ancient, wild and primitive pagan abandon.

The bizarre masks, the pantomime and the parodies identify the carnival on Skyros with the ancient Dionysia. Young men wrap themselves in goatskins and 50 kilos of goat bells and whirl frenetically round, in order to release Persephone and bring on the Spring. Valentine holidaymakers will have never seen anything like it. You can even join in the mask-play and dancing if you want to.

The price of this trip is £495 excluding flights and transfers. Accommodation in comfortable village rooms, visit to Goat Festival, all courses and two daily meals are included. Flights from £145 (excl. taxes, Olympic Airways 0870 606 0460).

Couples, singles and groups of friends are, of course, all welcome on Skyros Holidays, which attracts both gay and straight holidaymakers. To book online and for details of all vacations go to www.Skyros.com. Enquiries e-mail office@skyros.com or call +44 (0)20 7267 4424.

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