Roll up, roll up! Join the carnival – celebrating apokries in Athens
If you love to party, be sure to visit Greece during the season of apokries (17th February – 10th March 2019), a national carnival celebrated around the country over three festive weeks.
No where is apokries more fervently celebrated than Athens, where revelers across all age groups take to the streets to join carnivals, masquerades and parties in a bid to enjoy all of life’s excesses before the restraint of lent. Apokries is divided into three weeks, each one dedicated to a different aspect of the upcoming lenten fast. The first week is focussed on the church, with the opening of the book of the Triodion. The second week is a celebration of meat, coming to a heady high on the Thursday of Tsiknopempti – literally, smokey Thursday. On this day it is customary for everyone to roast meat over hot charcoals so the smell of burning meat permeated the whole country. The third week is devoted to cheese and all things dairy, meat being banned after the gluttony of Tsiknopempti.
The largest apokries parade in Greece is held in Patras and is one of the biggest street parties in Europe! Patras is just a 2.5 hour drive from Athens, and is the perfect weekend trip for repeat city visitors. Nevertheless, the capital city itself also hosts a number of large parades and, as apokries falls outside the main tourist season, joining the festivities is the perfect way to experience authentic Greece. Notable neighbourhoods to explore during this period include the picturesque area of Plaka or the more residential streets of Moschato.
Guests at Life Gallery athens can take advantage of their prime location in the gorgeous northern suburb of Ekali to join a number of local apokries celebrations. Head to the rustic grill houses and tavernas perched at the foot of Penteli mountain for a spectacular Tsiknopempti feast or make the short trip downtown and take part in a variety of events such as public concerts, art installations and night-time masquerades.