The Patras Carnival, Patrino karnavali is the largest event of its kind in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe. It has more than 191 years of history. The events begin on 16 January 2020 and last up to Clean Monday on 02 March 2020. The carnival of Patras is not a single event but a variety of events that includes balls, parades, hidden treasure hunt and the children’s carnival amongst others. It climaxes in the last weekend of Carnival with the Saturday evening parade of carnival groups, the extravagant Sunday parade of floats and groups, and finally, the ritual burning of the carnival king at the St. Nikolaos Street pier in the harbor of Patras. Its characteristics are spontaneity, improvisation, inspiration, volunteerism, and willingness to getting fun.
The Opening Ceremony
Respective of when the Triodion falls, the three weeks preceding the first Sunday of Lent, it is customary for the Carnival of Patras to start on the day of St. Anthony (16 January 2020). A town crier appears on the streets of Patras; in recent years this has been a specially constructed float with music. The crier announces the opening with a satirical message and invites the town’s residents to assemble that evening for the opening ceremony in George square. During a spectacular celebration with elements of surprise, as the program is kept secret till the last moment, the start of the Patras Carnival is declared by the town’s mayor from the first-floor balcony of the Apollon theatre. The program usually includes pantomimes and patters, dances, music, and fireworks
The Grande parade
This is the climax of the Patras Carnival. The parade begins around 2 pm on the Sunday before Clean Monday with numerous satirical floats constructed by the municipality followed by an endless stream of groups, each one with an individual theme around which their costumes are designed. Despite the constant flow, due to the number of people participating which in recent years has reached between 35 and 40 thousand, the parade takes several hours to complete. It cuts through the town and is watched by thousands on the streets, on balconies, in the stands and throughout Greece in a televised coverage.
An extension of the traditional festivities based around the burning of the float of the Carnival King, with concerts, dances, a farewell to the carnival past, announcements about the carnival to come and countless fireworks. It takes place at the port on Sunday night. Book Now!!!!