The opening ceremony for the famous Carnival of the city of Patras took place on Saturday, January 18 in Greece’s third-largest city.
Patras’ Carnival is the largest of its kind in Greece and one of the largest and most spectacular in all of Europe.
Thousands of people, both locals and tourists, enjoyed an event full of music, dance and spectacular fireworks.
The history of the “Patrino Karnavali” held in this western Greek city goes back more than 180 years, and the people of Patras are extremely proud of their tradition.
In actuality, the carnival is not a single event but a variety of events that last for approximately six weeks, during the harshest part of winter!
The colorful festivities include traditional Greek ”Glenti,” balls, parades, a hunt for hidden treasure and a special Children’s Carnival.
The festivities traditionally reach their peak in the last weekend of Carnival, which according to the Greek Orthodox Church, falls just before “Clean Monday,” the day that marks the beginning of Great Lent.
On Saturday night of that weekend, a massive evening parade of carnival groups takes place. Then on Sunday, there is an even more extravagant parade featuring more floats and marching groups, with tens of thousands of participants from all over Greece and beyond.
The final event of the Patra Carnival features the ritual burning of the “Carnival King” at the Saint Nicholas’ Street pier in Patras’ harbor.
Speaking to the thousands who gathered on Saturday to see the concerts and performances, Patras’ Mayor Costas Peletides welcomed the huge crowd, saying “Patras’ Carnival, the authentic folk celebration of our city, begins its beautiful journey and in six weeks will fill our city with joy.”