Tyrnavos Carnival. A forbidden festival. A local “rebellion”
The Tyrnavos Carnival (Týrnavos), which has a hundred-year old history, is considered the biggest and best carnival in Central Greece. It is possibly the only carnival to have come under such strong attack, as some consider it to be an affront to the principles and customs of this particular time of year. But banning the events has never daunted the people of Tyrnavos, who went so far as to celebrate in secret, as the festival is for them an inextricable element of their cultural tradition. As time has passed, the carnival has changed form and renewed itself with new ideas, such as creating different teams of carnival goers to take part in the main parade on the final Sunday of Carnival season.
The beginning of Triódion (part of the run up to Easter in the Orthodox tradition) marks the start of a full month’s celebrations in the town, which plays host to many cultural events: evenings of theatre, fancy dress parties and concerts see the streets inundated with music and dance. The events climax on the final Sunday of Carnival season with the Main Parade of floats, which give a unique sparkle to the Tyrnavos Carnival. Creating the floats allows local craftsmen to show off their skills and gives the people of the town a chance to give free rein to their imagination and inspiration. But it is the thousands of carnival goers who give the event its true spirit: wearing masks and highly original imaginative costumes, revellers flood the town’s streets, dancing, having fun, and letting their hair down all night long in the Carnival atmosphere.
The events that take place during the Tyrnavos carnival events will amaze you and all your family. Pay a visit to this little town in the Plain of Thessaly and enjoy not just the big parade itself but also the events which take place in the run up to the parade. Take a look at the painting competitions or try out your vocal abilities at a karaoke party in one of the town’s cafes. Whether you love tales of the Wild West or prefer the romantic Age of the Knights in Shining Armour, you can choose your favourite costume and dance dressed up as a cowboy or a countess at a local night club. Don’t be surprised to come across a few aliens wandering around among you!
After you’ve made the best of every opportunity to have fun at this mass party, get ready for the big event on Sunday. The King of the Carnival will make his appearance, along with the magnificent entourage that will accompany him. Pick the team you would like to be part of (“Next Top Model”, “Surgeons and Sexy Nurses”, “Tri-Colour Macaroni, etc.) and party to your heart’s content! But keep some energy in reserve. There’s a special Clean Monday (the first day of Orthodox Lent) awaiting you.
First there is Bourani, a unique revival of an ancient Dionysian festive tradition which offers you “special” temptations to initiate you into the magic of the god Dionysus. And then there is the tsipouro (a traditional distilled alcoholic drink), served in abundance and absolutely free of charge!!