As with any festival celebration, the locals of Crete sure know how to party, and carnival season is no different! From weeks of dancing, music, good food and good times – Rethymno is famous for its pre-lent party – providing a range of masquerade, games and treasure hunt events for locals and holiday makers alike!
Each year for almost a month, Rethymno plays host to a succession of fun-filled celebrations, filling the town with colour, excitement and Cretan heritage throughout!
So, as a lover of all things traditionally Cretan – here’s our run-down of the upcoming carnival goings-on that you’re sure to fall in love with this Lent season in Rethymno! Enjoy.
It’s P-A-R-T-Y TIME!
Welcoming you into a breathtaking and colourful world, Rethymno shows visitors how they love to celebrate and perform.
In order for this world famous festival to continue year on year, people work together and volunteer in order to organise the upcoming festivities. Each year, the carnival celebrations will have a different theme, this being the focus to which the theatre and dance groups will base their acts.
The beginning of the carnival of Rethymno will be signalled by a town crier, who walks around Rethymno sharing the news and details of the festival and upcoming events. The carnival usually starts with a treasure hunt for the children, with numerous parties, carnival dances and workshops for children to make hand-crafted objects.
Whether you’re lazily wandering the beautiful side streets or partying amidst the central atmosphere, you’ll see groups of people sitting together outside local cafes, drinking ‘tsikoudiá’ (raki), tasting the local produce and creating ‘mantinádes’ (folk couplet songs) together. The carnival really does enhance a ‘togetherness’ throughout the town, and locals and visitors alike are joined in the enjoyment of good times.
Thing’s Not To Miss…
No matter how old or young you and your family are, the streets and squares of the picturesque town are filled with celebrations you can’t help but appreciate, including the must-see night-time parade of carnival floats and light spectaculars!
If creativity and artistic culture is more your thing – don’t miss the ‘kantada’, a four-house serenade with Bel Canto musical influences. Carnival groups walk thought the old town and fill each and every corner with nostalgic melodies, a must-experience for locals, visitors and holiday-makers alike!
The carnival in Rethymno culminates in the great float parade, with 15,000 party-people on 6th March taking part in a spectacular production of pictures, sounds and strongly Venetian-influenced costumes, floats and celebration spirit!
The carnival comes to its end with the burning of the effigy of the Carnival King, a traditional part of the carnival’s festivities.
The next day is referred to as Clean Monday (the first day of Lent), although that does not mean that the festivities are over! The ‘Koúlouma’ feast has its own special place in the carnival, and villages all around Rethymno are the centre of attention throughout! Be sure to attend the ‘Moutzouroma’ (daubing) in the villages of Arméni, Geráni and Rousospíti, and the Klepsimo tis Nyfis’ (the stealing of the Bride). Other events include ‘Avgomázema’ (egg collecting) and ‘Kanti’ in the village of Melidóni.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the village of Meronas, too – a folklore paradise, where a variety of customs are re-enacted. Over all, the Carnival of Rethymno is the perfect event for great history, and has stood the test of time, returning year on year with more creativity and atmospheric goings-on.
If you’re looking for a superb way to raise your spirits, meet new people and experience an event that is truly unique and magical – visit Rethymno for its carival events this pre-Lent. Here at Pure Crete, we’re passionate about providing you with the most traditional and scenic Crete villas to enhance your stay! For more information, or to speak to one of our friendly and helpful team – please do not hesitate to contact us on 01444 488 0404 today!