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It’s Carnival party time down in Cyprus March 3, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture, Greek Culture Heritage.
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What’s on and where for the Carnival week celebrations in Cyprus

Carnival seems to be the perfect excuse for mass indulgence. Adhering to the codes of organised religion can certainly be tough, but that’s why some clever Italians back in the 1500s decided it was a good idea to hold wild parades just before the rigours of Lent set in. Then the rest of the Christian world felt that it was a brilliant idea to indulge in more food and drink than one can possibly handle, as glitzy costumes and musical performances gave humans a reason to rejoice in their faith of God. Sounds quite bizzare doesn’t it?

Interestingly, what first began as a festivity deeply rooted in pagan tradition slowly morphed into a worldwide fascination for getting dressed up or dressed down and a brilliant money-making occasion for clothes and accessory retailers who finally have an excuse to get rid of their most ridiculous attire.

Today, even Japan holds its own version of Latin Carnival as Tokyo’s Asakusa district comes to life with dancing girls, fabulous costumes and salsa sounds. They certainly aren’t preparing to say farewell to meat, but they can’t resist the temptation for a wild party.

Here in Cyprus, we may not be able to enjoy all the pizzazz that characterises the streets of Rio, but we still love to celebrate the occasion. As the invites for dress-up parties and dinners come through, it’s time to riffle through the wardrobe to find ‘the other you’ for the night. Whether you opt for the killer gangster look, a 1920s Broadway babe or a character from Star Wars, it’s all about daring to be someone different.

While festivities are organised across the island, Limassol is the real centre of activity. The fun begun on Thursday 28th February, Tsiknopempti in Greek, with a children’s parade down Pentadromos and Anexartisias Street. On Friday you had the chance to learn more about the history of the Limassol Carnival with a talk by journalist, Titos Kolotas, followed by a film screening on the whole occasion. Donkeys decked up in colourful gear, while the crowds sung and danced down village lanes, were some of the hallmarks of traditional carnival.

On Tuesday evening, the Limassol Municipality invites everyone to go along to the Medieval Castle Square in full costume where there will be lots of carnival merrymaking, music and dancing. Put on your best frock and prepare for a carnival costume competition with awards for the best three.

All the festivities will culminate in the Grand Festival Parade taking place this coming Sunday. You can expect the usual colourful procession down Archbishop Makarios III Avenue with the King of Carnival, giant papier-meche figures on floats, dancers in humorous and bizarre costumes, and a great deal of music by the Limassol Municipality Band. It’s all wonderfully cheesy and terribly tacky but carnival just wouldn’t be the same if it was any other way. The festivities will end with fireworks at the Medieval Castle Square.

If you’re looking for something a little different to all the customary celebrations around town, a touch of Latin fever is coming your way. Go along to the Patticheon Municipal Theatre in Limassol this Wednesday and you’ll get to watch Son Cubano in all their glory, as they jet in from Cuba to bring the true festive spirit to our shores.

Led by the well-known Cuban singer, Rene Maceo, the six band members are all graduates of the Havana Conservatorium, but were born and raised with the traditional music that fills the streets in the city centre. What better way to celebrate carnival than with a full Cuban band churning out a mixture of salsa, rumba and mambo?

Carnival Season Highlights >
March 2 >
Children’s Carnival Parade > Pentadromos-Anexartisias Street, 11.30am.
March 3 > History of Limassol Carnival > Lecture by journalist, Titos Kolotas, and screening of Limassol Carnival documentary. Panikos Mavrelis Cultural Centre, 71 Eirinis Street. Free. Tel 25 341572.
March 4 > Carnival Fiesta > Costume party with music and dancing. Medieval Castle Square. 8.30pm.
March 5 > Son Cubano > Live music by Cuban band led by the well known Rene Maceo and his company. Patticheon Municipal Theatre. 8.30pm. €20.50. Tel 25 878744.
March 9 > Grand Limassol Parade > Parade down Archbishop Makarios III Avenue. Starts 1.30pm, with a farewell carnival fiesta and fireworks at 8.30pm, Medieval Castle Square.

Programme is subject to unexpected changes, especially for outdoor events. General info > call 25 342153 or 25 745919.

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