apokries carnival Athens Plaka

APOKRIES CARNIVAL IN ATHENS

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Where: Various locations around Athens
When: 15 February - 2 March 2020 (events cancelled)
Why Go: A vibrant festival of food, music & celebration

In the lead up to Greek Orthodox Easter, the national carnival known as Apokries (translates to “a leave from meat”) is celebrated in Athens over two weeks. It comes before the period of lent commences and where Greeks feast on meat, alongside street parties filled with music, dance, theatre and masquerades.

The City of Athens Apokries Carnival festivities from 28 February to 2 March 2020 have been cancelled as a preventative measure by the government over Coronavirus concerns.

The peak days of the festival fall on “Tsiknopempti” or Smoke Thursday (20 February 2020), which marks ten days (eleven days when in a leap year) before the start of fasting and also the final weekend of the carnival. The start of lent, known as Clean Monday or Ash Monday (2 March 2020) marks the end of the carnival and is a national holiday in Greece. Meat will be off the menu and instead, locals devour plenty of olives and barbecued seafood (without blood) such as ​shrimp and octopus. Taramosalata and halvah are also popular over these days.

Video: Courtesy of GreekTV.com

PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS: APOKRIES AND CARNIVAL IN ATHENS 2020

All events are free unless otherwise specified

Thursday 20 February | “TSIKNOPEMPTI” SMOKE THURSDAY | Various Parades

11:00am at the Varvakios Central Market

Parade with traditional costumes and percussion. Walking route: Syntagma Square, Ermou St (pedestrianised walkway), Monastiraki Square and Plaka.

The special day of meat-eating starts at the main food market in central Athens. The Philharmonic Orchestra of Athens will perform inside the markets at 11:00am to start the day’s festivities.

12:00pm at the Varvakios Central Market

Musical concert at the central market with Greek musician Babis Tsertos.

apokries carnival Athens Souvlaki

Meat on the charcoal is a feature of the Apokries Carnival before lent starts on Clean Monday. Photo: Why Athens

Thursday 20 February Continued

1:00pm at Psyrri Square (Plateia Iroon)

Melodies with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Athens.

1:00pm starting at Centre for Popular Craft & Tradition

Street parade with traditional costumes and percussion. You can follow the masqueraded walkers through the streets of Athens spreading music and good cheer until they reach Monastiraki Square.

2:30pm at Monastiraki Square

Carnival concert at Monastiraki Square with traditional Greek musicians Manolis Skoulas and Dora Loizou.

7:30pm starting at the Acropolis Metro Station

Street parade with traditional costumes and percussion. You can follow the masqueraded walkers through the streets of Athens spreading music and good cheer until they reach Psyrri Square.

8:00pm – midnight at the Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum’s restaurant will be open with live music and a rich buffet of delicious appetisers, fresh salads, meats and home-made sweets. Telephone reservations essential: T. +30 210 9000 915.

Apokries Carnival Athens Greek Dancing

Friday 21 February

12:00pm at Agias Irini Square

Melodies with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Athens.

Saturday 22 February

11:30pm at Plateia Agiou Pavlou (St Paul’s Square) Metaxourgeio

Carnival party with samba rhythms, animators, clowns, face painting and carnival costume contest.

2:30pm at Voukourestiou Street in Syntagma

Latin concert with the Athens Big Band and special guests Martha Moreleon and Kiki Blu

5:00pm at Geor. Olimpiou 8, Koukaki (pedestrianised area)

A carnival celebration with clowns, stilts, music and many more surprises. The Athenian Philharmonic Orchestra participates. In cooperation with the local shopkeepers.

apokries carnival Athens

Apokries Carnival in Athens. Photo: courtesy of City of Athens/Myrto Koutoulia

Sunday 23 February

11:00am at Zappeion, National Gardens

A carnival day for children and families. Music, dancing, jugglers, face painting, balloons and more

12:00pm at Thissio

A Carnival trip around Greece. Traditional dancing and carnival customs

2:30pm starting at the Acropolis Metro Station

Latin concert with the Athens Big Band and special guests Martha Moreleon and Kiki Blu

Apokries Carnival Athens Juggler

Tuesday 25 February

1:00pm at Monastiraki Square

Melodies with the Athens Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra

Wednesday 26 February

2:00pm at Psyrri Square (Plateia Iroon)

A tribute to folk song

Friday 28 February

12:00pm at Ermou Street Mall

Melodies with the Athens Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra

12:00pm at Syntagma Square

The carnival atmosphere continues with acrobatics, live music, street dancers and more.

5:00pm at Thissio

Concert beneath the glow of the Acropolis featuring Greek band ‘The Wedding Singers’ who will perform covers and hits from the ‘90s.

8:00pm at Thissio

The concert vibe continues, this time with Greek singer Michael Rakintzis performing.

apokries carnival Athens

Apokries Carnival at the Zappeion in Athens. Photo: City of Athens

Saturday 29 February

12:00pm at Thissio

Concert under the Acropolis with traditional music from Thrace, Crete, Epirus and Asia Minor. Special guest performance by leading clarinettist Petroloukas Halkias.

1:00pm at Syntagma Square to Plaka

Carnival party with samba rhythms, animators, clowns, face painting and carnival costume making its way from Syntagma Square to Plaka.

3:00pm at Monastiraki Square

Free concert with the band Tzitzikes with traditional Greek songs from around the country.

5:00pm at Thissio

Concert under the Acropolis with Greek singing legends Glykeria and Melina Kana.

8:00pm at Thissio

Concert under the Acropolis with artists and songs from the golden era of the 60s and 70s.

Sunday 1 March

12:00pm starting at the Acropolis Metro Station

Melodies with the Athens Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra.

12:00pm at Thissio

A concert beneath the Acropolis featuring Greek singers and musicians.

1:00pm at Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrianised walkway

Live music with brass band, woodwind and percussion instruments performing traditional and modern songs of Greece, the Balkan peninsula and the eastern Mediterranean regions.

5:00pm at Thissio

A concert beneath the Acropolis featuring the much loved Greek singer Kostas Makedonas.

8:00pm at Thissio

A concert beneath the Acropolis featuring Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Bogaz Musique performing traditional folk music.

Apokries Carnival Athens Stavros Niarchos

Apokries festivities on both Sunday and Clean Monday are a family affair at the Stavros Niarchos Park. Photograph: Nikos Karanikolas

Monday 2 March CLEAN MONDAY (national public holiday)

11:00am – 3:00pm | Philopappou Hill

Traditional eating for the first day of lent, with a free concert and family activities. Picnic style day with traditional kite flying.

 

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