Friday, February 17, 2012

Mad as a March Hare

Though we are technically still in February that didn't seem to bother anyone.

Yesterday was the beginning of the the Carnival in Greece. The first day, wrapped nicely in a christian meaning, was Tsiknopempti (Τσικνοπέμπτι) which literally means "Grilled Meat Thursday" (Tsikno means the smell of grilled meat while Pempti means Thursday) in other words the last day before Easter when christians are allowed to eat meat. After that is the 40 day fast or so the theory goes. 
In Greece, fasting starts with 11 days of carnival followed by 40 days of hangover giving them thus a very good reason to fast. :)
As far as I know, the most famous carnival in Greece is the one that takes place in Patra. This year though I followed the one from Thessaloniki. 

It is the third year in which the carnival in Thessaloniki starts with a bicycle parade. People dressed up, took their bicycles and joined the parade that started  around 7 PM. What they didn't count on this year was the weather. In the center of Thessaloniki there was a real feel -10 degrees and a wind that would freeze your soul and yet a lot of people came.

It was an explosion if life, joy, colors and last but not least madness, considering the weather. The streets were filled with people whistling, cheering or dancing.
In case you didn't have a costume or you just wanted to improve it, there were stands selling colorful wigs, witch noses, hats, spiders or swords. And talking about stands, let's not forget the meat stands selling souvlaki and suzukaki freshly taken from the grill that spread a mouth watering aroma all over the center.

  The plaza in which the open air concert took place was overfilled with jokers, nuns, cats, super heroes, indians, fish, cowboys, anything you can think of, anything your imagination could create and more. I even saw the Sailor Moon team. Amazing costumes! In case you don't remember the cartoons here is a picture.