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Defiant Athens to Celebrate Carnival Season Despite Coronavirus Fears

The spread of coronavirus in Europe is not discouraging Greeks who are ready to participate in the carnival season, or “Apokries.”

Cities and towns throughout the country are ready for the colorful festivities which culminate on the weekend before “Kathara Deftera,” or Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent, which falls on March the 2nd this year.

For this year’s Carnival season, the Culture, Sports & Youth Organization of the City of Athens (OPANDA) together with Technopolis City of Athens, have co-created a rich programme of events.

The city streets fill with confetti, masks, capes and hats while percussion and bass drums give the rhythm.

Harlequins, pierrots and clowns hide near the Acropolis Hill, the city center and all around the neighborhoods with the intention to carry us away with their joyful tunes… All these happenings together with many more will unravel the vibrant maypole of this year’s festivities as the joyful dance of the Athenian carnival begins!

For 17 days, 32 spots around Athens will be hosting more than 60 festive activities with free admission to all. The carnival agenda has it all: concerts, music tours, serenades, performances and parades, revival of traditional Athenian carnival customs, treasure hunt, dancing, satirical songs, tarantella dance sessions, guitars, mandolins, ocarinas and bass drums along with afro-brazilian percussions.

The Carnival events program has also provided for our younger carnival enthusiasts, including plenty of activities for kids and families: educational programs and art workshops invite little friends to put on their costumes, explore different materials, experiment with the tradition, create and play leisurely.

The festivities will take off on Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday). On Friday the 28th, Saturday the 29th of February and Sunday the 1st of March, many Greek artists will be entertaining us in a series of some very special concerts under the Acropolis.

The peak, however, of the carnival period comes on Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday), the 2nd of March, at Filopappou Hill to fly kites and celebrate the “ Koulouma” tradition. Headliner of this festive day is GogoTsampa, the singer who managed to revive the audience’s interest for folk music.

“Another great opportunity to see Athens dressed in colours and festivities. We have carefully designed a number of Carnival events, so that Athenians of all ages as well as our visitors feel that they belong here. It’s the Carnival itself which has this familiar, sweet taste of tradition while at the same time is in an open dialogue with the fresh and the new! It’s the Carnival itself that’s not afraid to have fun, to dress up in the craziest colours and laugh out loud,” pointed out the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis.

With information from AMNA

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