Saturday, 15 February 2014

Apokries ...

Spent the morning looking for a dress ...

Not for me, However that would probably be perfectly acceptable. Its 'Apokries' here, the shops are full of great fancy dress outfits, and excited children looking for outfits, as the party season approaches. The supermarkets have been stocked with nice foods, pickles, vegetarian and fish dishes. In addition, large boxes of cheap wine to help get the parties rolling.

Carnival in Greece is a celebration, and a chance to escape everyday monotony, and enter into a world of party, fantasy, jinks and 'kefi'  (high spirits) its a feast of dance, wine and meat before the sacrifices and fasting of Lent.

The Tradition of Apokries / Karnavali
(Apokries may also be spelt Apokreas, Apokrias)

In Greece the Carnival started in Ancient times, believed to be as a worship to Dionysos, the God of Wine and Feast.  In the Orthodox tradition Apokries is the preparation period before Lent. Apokries means literally saying goodbye to meat  -  Apoxh apo kreas -  apo-kreas.  In Latin the roots of the word Carnival has the same meaning - 'carne' is meat and 'vale' goodbye.

Apokries runs for three weeks immediately preceding Lent.

In 2014 Apokries runs from Sunday 9th February to Sunday 2nd March, while Clean Monday ('Kathara Deftera' or 'Kathari Deftera') falls on Monday 3rd March 2014.

First Week of Apokries - from Sunday 9th February 2014
Apokries starts with the opening of the book of the Triodion, the 3 holy sacraments.

Second Week- Meat week
Officially the last week of eating meat until after Lent.
Tsiknopempti - Charred Thursday of meat week: 20th February 2014 Tsikna is the smell of burning meat. It was the custom on Tsikonpempti for everyone (including the poor) to charcoal grill meat and to melt fat over it so the smell of  'burning' meat permeated whole villages. It is still the tradition to eat meat on Tsiknopempti, although nowadays it is usual to go to a taverna for the meat feast. You'll find that tavernas everywhere are packed and many have live music too.

Third Week -  Cheese Week
This week was also called 'White Week'  as  people ate mostly dairy products and eggs. Meat was forbidden from Monday of cheese week  until after Lent. Many people still adhere to this.Women never washed their hair during this week as it was said it would turn white if they did.

Tyrofagis Sunday - 2nd March 2014
The majority of Carnival Parades are held on this day, the last day of Apokries. The final day of Apokries, and it's also the last day until after Easter that church weddings  are allowed to take place. The Orthodox Church still follows the tradition that no weddings or celebrations can take place during the 50 days of Lent.
The old tradition says don't get married on this day; if you do it will be an unhappy marriage!
Carnival parades are held on this, the last day of Apokrias.

Clean Monday - 3rd March 2013

The day after Tyrofagis Sunday is  'Kathara Deftera' , also called 'Kathari Deftera', or Clean Monday, which falls on 3rd March 2014.

Clean Monday marks the end of Apokries and the first day of Lent (Sarakosti). Fasting starts today and traditionally no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products or oil are allowed to be eaten for the 49 days leading up to Easter.

Clean Monday is a Bank Holiday in Greece and also seen as the start of springtime; it is celebrated by an excursion to the mountains or the beach to enjoy a Lenten picnic or taverna meal, and fly a kite.

(Pronounced 'mask - e - ra - des'  in Greek)

During the three weeks of Apokries children, teenagers and adults alike dress up in (often outrageous!) disguises and masks and visit the houses of friends and neighbours who try to guess the identities of the masqueraders. The town and village cafés, tavernas and bars are also visited by masqueraders, usually armed with cans of foam, streamers and confetti.

Weekends, and the final carnival weekend in particular, are the most popular periods for dressing-up and many masked balls, dances and children's parties are held at various venues throughout the three week carnival period.

Apokries culminates with the Grand Carnival Parades, a number of which are held
throughout Greece, usually on the last Apokries weekend  - Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd March in 2014.

Here we will have some childrens parties and a parade, on that sunday. The adults will party the nights away at the clubs, where the fun will last all night long.

Can't wait for it all to get going, however as its full moon tonight, the local children are doing their best, with the firecrackers in the street.  SWMBO has turned some rough red, into a pretty agreeable mulled wine this evening as we enter into the party spirit ...

Latest news: The first of the calendars have landed across Europe ...

Caerphilly Wales
Lancashire (Various addresses) UK
Oxford UK
Reading UK
Southampton UK
Tyne & Wear UK
Hellerup Denmark

How's that for service ...

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1 comment:

  1. It all sounds great apart from the not washing your hair - I really couldn't do that! What a way to honour lent though.