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Limassol Carnival Festival 2017
Limassol Carnival Festival 2017
Evgenia Bravo
Author: Evgenia Bravo

Limassol Carnival Festival is one of the most famous and large carnival events in the world, which takes place in Limassol and other Cypriot coastal towns and cities in the very beginning of spring. 10 days in a row are dedicated to dance, music, satire, games, street performances and, of course, colourful carnival processions.

The history of the Carnival

The carnival has been held in Limassol every spring since 1890, while the history of the festival can be traced back to the times of the Ancient Greece when people widely honoured Dionysus (the god of wine) and Adonis. In the Middle Ages, during the times of the Venetian rule and in later historic periods Cypriots continued to meet spring in a highly entertaining way.

When the carnival traditions had only begun to shape, it was not common to make costumes for a procession — people who wanted to participate in it just wore pajamas and home clothing.

A tradition to give a big cash prize to the owner of the fanciest and the most creative costume started in 1898 when the British were in charge on the island. In 1929 the first beauty contest in the history of Cyprus was held in Limassol during festive Carnival days. In the first part of the 20th century the festival, that used to be held in rich houses, literally went out on the streets.

Limassol Carnival Festival today

Nowadays spring festivals take place in many towns and cities in Cyprus, but the Limassol Carnival is considered to be the largest and the most pompous. Preparations begin a few weeks prior to event: shops and cafes are usually decorated by their owners, sweet carts appear all over the central streets and children spend winter evenings with their parents thinking of how to surprise everybody with this year’s costumes.

The King of the Carnival, followed by his dressy escort, opens the festival. The official children’s carnival parade which takes place on the first and second Saturday of the Carnival is de facto just one of many spontaneous children’s gatherings all over the city. Sea-foam battles are usually held in the Old Town on the first day of the festival. Do not hope to escape dry if you happen to be there.

During 10 days of the carnival street performances of musicians (especially serenaders) and dancers occurs here and there. The theme of the Carnival changes every year, and artists rarely use the opportunity to comment on actual political or economical issues with humor or sarcasm.

Cooking traditions

There are certain cooking traditions related to the Limassol Carnival. For example, during the first 5 days, Cypriots serve meat dishes, while the second half of the festival is dedicated to cheese and dairy products. Be sure to try souvla or souvlaki, ravioli, burek (during «cheese days» they are made with a stuffing from cottage cheese, Halloumi, and mint) and such traditional sweets as daktila, kataifi and other. Food is an essentially important part of the carnival culture, and Cypriots give it a lot of attention before the upcoming Lent.

Limassol Carnival 2017

Limassol Carnival 2017 dates 16.02.2017 - 26.02.2017. The Town Hall, the Rialto Theatre, the University Square, the Medieval Castle square, the Trakasol cultural center, the Municipal Garden of Limassol and the Limassol Marina square will be, as usual, the main venues where festive events will be held.

On the first night of the Carnival, the Queen of the Carnival will enter the city along with her entourage, choir, and the musicians. The procession will march through the central streets and end with a big party at the Heroes Square.

During the following days tourists and Limassol citizens can participate in numerous festive events: exhibitions, musical and theater performances, workshops, quests, parades and many more.


Pre-festive events:

Tuesday, February 14

7 p.m., Limassol Marina Square
Musical events and the Limassol Majorettes’ show.

7.30 p.m., the Trakasol Cultural Centre
The opening of the «Limassol Carnival 2016» exhibition of photographs.

Wednesday, February 15

6 p.m., Town Hall
The opening of the «Carnival 2017» exhibition with the participation of the Choir of the Kato Polemidia Municipality.

7 p.m., the Theomania art gallery
The opening of the carnival mask exhibition.

Festive events

Thursday, February 16

11 a.m
Carnival activities and events in front of the Limassol Cooperative Savings Bank (Gladstonos street) and the Bank of Cyprus (Ayiou Andreou street).

12.30 p.m.
Serenaders singing at Saripolou Square.

5.30 p.m., Town Hall
The Mayor and the Municipal Council parade with the participation of the Limassol Municipality Brass Band.

5.30 p.m., Grigori Afxentiou Square
Music and dance events with Marios Papadopoulos, the Lime & Sol and the Batukinio bands.

7 p.m.
The Queen of the Carnival 2017, The Deep Blue of the Mediterranean, and her entourage will enter the city. The parade will set off from Grigoris Afxentiou Square and terminate at the Heroe’s square, where a dance party will take place.

Friday, February 17

7.30 p.m., Pattihio Municipal Theatre
Carnival songs by Children’s Choirs: Melodies kai Chromata, Dreams' Choir, the Armonia Choir, the Children's Choir of the Papadakion Municipal School of Music and other.

Saturday, February 18

10.30 a.m.
The Municipality’s children’s train will depart from the Limassol Co-operative Savings Bank at Gladstonos Street and tour around the city center.

11 a.m., Grigoris Afxentiou Square
The «Treasure hunt» quest.

3 p.m., Medieval Castle Square
The Limassol Cycling Club procession.

6.00 p.m., Hellenic Bank at Gladstones
Serenades and carnival songs event where free drinks will be offered.

7.30 p.m., Studio 8 School of Art & Design
The opening of the «Revival of the old Limassol Carnival days» exhibition of photographs of old carnival floats.

Sunday, February 19

11.30 a.m., Sea front road (opposite Citizen Service Centre)
The annual Children’s Carnival Parade mill march through the city center to the south entrance of the Municipal Garden.

6 p.m., Perama Music Stage
Serenades and carnival songs event.

Monday, February 20

7.30 p.m.,
Serenaders at Ayia Fyla quarter.

Tuesday, February 21

7.30 p.m.,
Serenaders at Zakaki quarter, quarters of Apostolos Andreas and Ayios Ioannis and the Ayios Nicolaos quarter.

8 p.m., Heroes’ Square
The crazy costumes parade («Pellomaska»).

8.30 p.m., Medieval Castle Square
Carnival Fiesta: music, dancing, and the Carnival Costume Competition

Wednesday, February 22

7.30 p.m., Trakasol cultural center
Limassol’s Tetrafonia (Four Voice Men’s Choir): serenades and carnival songs.

8.30p.m. University Square
Big Street Party — music, dance and entertaining events.

Thursday, February 23

7.30 p.m., Grigori Afxentiou Square
Beginning of the Evening Carnival Parade, that will march all the way to the Medieval Castle Square.

8.30 p.m., Medieval Castle Square
Carnival Ball: music by The Dreams' Choir, Elena Solea and their orchestra and a DJ program

Friday, February 24

7 p.m., Irinis street
Beginning of the Serenaders’ evening. Such choirs and band as the Modernoi Keri Choir, the Limassol Serenaders, the Ariones Choir, the Cypriot Serenaders, and other will march through the Medieval Castle Square to the Limassol Marina Square.

Saturday, February 25

10.30 a.m.
The Municipality’s children’s train will depart from the Limassol Co-operative Savings Bank at Gladstonos Street and tour around the city center.

3 p.m., Enaerios Parking Place
The Limassol Classic Cars Club carnival parade. Ending point: Grigori Afxentiou Square.

5 p.m., Grigori Afxentiou Square
Music by Georgia Protopapa’s Vocal Ensemble, the choir «Mousikes Periplanisis» and the Emmelia Choir. Free wine will be offered.

6.30 p.m., Town Hall
Serenaders’ Parade: songs and music on the streets of Limassol. Ending point: Grigori Afxentiou Square.

Sunday, February 26

1 p.m., Ayios Nikolaos Round About
The opening of the Grand Carnival Parade led by the Queen of the Carnival — The Deep Blue of the Mediterranean — accompanied by musicians, pedestrians, floats, serenaders, Majorettes and other participants.

9 p.m., Old Port Square
Carnival Fiesta — farewell party and a Free style Carnival Costume Competition.

9 p.m., Marina Square
Parade of Limassol Majorettes and Batukinio percussion instruments group. Ending point: Old Port Square.

The program is subject to unexpected changes.