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Carnival in Mainland Greece

Legends about ghosts are very common in this part of Greece. It is said that the ghosts are the souls of people or animals who have been killed and that they wander around the area. The most popular of all is the Ghost of Harmaina. This ghost loved and protected the "Tambakides" (tanners) whose work forced them to be near the Vrisi (waters) day and night. Many people swore that they saw this ghost wander at night all over the town and end up at the water spring where it disappeared. Some of the older people tell stories of the Ghost of Harmaina. That it would come out every Saturday night, descending from the Brook of Kolokythos and wander across the streets, moaning and rattling its chains. During the last weekend of the carnival, the legend of the Ghost is reenacted in Amfissa. From the quarter of Harmaina, where the old Tambakika and the stairs of St. Nicholas are found, the “ghost” descends along with hundreds of other disguised people. At the city’s large historic coffee shop there are discussions of satirical nature in regards to legends and ghosts.

Municipality of Amfissa: Tel. 22650 28913, 22650 28233

During the carnival period (Triodion), almost all of the inhabitants of Galaxidi walk about the streets and shops dressed in carnival costumes.

An established custom of the city on Clean Monday is the lighting of large fires in squares and streets, with music, dancing and having fun.

On Clean Monday, the inhabitants of Galaxidi do not play with streamers and confetti but prefer to attack fellow citizens with flour instead in a “flour war”. At that time, despite the Turkish occupation, citizens of Galaxidi, wanted to celebrate the carnival, to have fun and dance in circles. One circle was for the women and one for the men. They would wear masks or simply paint their faces black with coal. Afterwards flour, indigo, shoe polish and ochre was added to the list. Everyone participated in the smudging regardless of their age.

The carnival of Galaxidi is full of color and liveliness. The people keep their customs and traditions alive with love and respect.

Municipality of Galaxidi: Tel. 22650 41319

On Clean Monday there is the reenactment of the "Vlach's Wedding". It is a custom which has been brought to us today since around 1830, after the liberation of the highlands. The Vlachs, that is the shepherds from Macedonia, Epirus, Thessalia and Roumeli, abandoned at that time their barren land and found more fertile land to the south.
The custom was assimilated and preserved only in Thiva, the country of Dionysus.It is believed that the Vlach’s Wedding is a remnant of Dionysian Tradition (Procession, War Dance, Bacchanalian Satyr) of the Vlachs of Pindis.The spectacle is unique because of the colorful wedding parade and the accompanying traditional music (bag pipes and tabors).
The festivities begin on Shrove Thursday at night and the highlight is the last weekend of the carnival (Shrove Sunday and Clean Monday).

Municipality of Thiva: Tel. 22620 89725

On the last Sunday of carnival, the "Friends of the Livadia Carnival" organize each year an event called the "maypole" (Gaitanaki), which is supported by the local Municipality. It is a tradition which has been observed since the Second World War in Livadia and which has been revived the last few years.

The reenactment faithfully follows tradition. The neighboring districts of the city each prepare their maypole along with floats and masquerades and parade towards the central square where they join their maypoles and dance around them.
Each year some events are organized such as a competition for awarding the best group, a football match between teams of old ladies, presentation of carnival scenes, songs (carnival songs of the regions with a comic or satirical content) as well as competitions of mimes by the masqueraders, dancing and singing with folk musical instrument players etc.

Municipality of Liviadia: Tel. 22610 25330

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