apokries carnival Athens Plaka Doulia
Apokries Carnival in Athens. Photo: courtesy of City of Athens/ Myrto Koutoulia

APOKRIES CARNIVAL IN ATHENS

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Where: Various locations around Athens
When: On now – 19 February 2018
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 three 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 peak days of the festival falls on “Tsiknopempti” or Smoke Thursday, which marks ten days before the start of fasting. The final day of the carnival is the start of lent, known as Clean Monday or Ash Monday and this 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 2018

All events are free!

Sat 3 Feb 12:00 noon | Syntagma Square

Musical Walk of the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra

Route: Syntagma, Ermou, Aeolou, Monastiraki

Sat 3 Feb 3:00pm | Plaka

Musical Walk of the Athens Orchestra Philharmonic Orchestra

Route: Kydathinaion, Adrianou, Ancient Agora, Monastiraki

 

Sun 4 Feb 7:00pm | Outside Acropolis Metro Station

Carnival costumes and music in the historic city centre with carols by the Choir of the Zakynthian Union of Athens.

Route: Metro Acropolis, Plateia or Square of: Saint Catherine, Philomous, Kydathinia, Adrianoupolis, Tripodon, Flessas,

Lysios, Marcus Aurelius, Adrianou, Monastiraki

apokries carnival Athens Souvlaki

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

Thurs 8 Feb | “TSIKNOPEMPTI” SMOKE THURSDAY | Syntagma Square

12 noon – 2:00pm: Music parade with Lefteris Gregoriou and Global Daoulias. Route: Syntagma, Ermou, Aeolou, Monastiraki

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Carnival dances of Samos and Ikaria from the Bacchae cultural group

Thurs 8 Feb | Monastiraki Square

3:30pm: Carnival concert by the Athens Hellenic Music Workshop

Thurs 8 Feb | Exarchia (Footpath along Methonis St)

7:00pm: Concert with the Live Smyrna Orchestra. Six female voices sing Greek songs, highlighting a variety of themes and sounds

 

Sat 10 Feb | Syntagma Square

1:00pm – 2:00pm: A presentation of customary events from Thrace from the Cultural Association of Argyroupoli

2:00pm – 3:30pm: Let the dancing continue! Traditional dances from various groups from around Athens

Sat 10 Feb | Koukaki (close to Acropolis metro station)

4:00pm: Carnival street party with clowns, jugglers, and DJ sets

Sat 10 Feb | MELINA MERCOURI CULTURAL CENTRE: 66 Iraklidon St  

7:00pm: A night of tango

 

Sun 11 Feb | Zappeion, National Gardens

From 10:30am: A carnival day for children and families.

Music, dancing, jugglers, face painting, balloons and more

apokries carnival Athens

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

Tue 13 Feb | Technopolis, Gazi

8:30pm: Musical tribute to Greek composer Linko Kokotos

 

Wed 14 Feb | Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, 206 Pireos St, Tavros ( a short taxi ride from the centre of Athens)

8:30pm: An Argentine tango night for St Valentine’s day, with the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra and Quinteto Tangarto

 

Thurs 15 Feb | Technopolis, Gazi

8:30pm: The Athens Big Band plays swing and jazz

 

Sat 17 Feb | Omonoia (downtown Athens)

7:00pm: Parade with the Dance Club of Koudounai

Route: Omonoia, Athena St, Aeolou, St Irene Square, Psyri Square

Sat 17 Feb | Plaka

7:00pm: Masquerade parade

Route: Monastiraki Square, Adrianou St and around streets of Plaka finishing at Acropolis metro station

apokries carnival Athens

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

Sun 18 Feb | Acropolis Metro station

11:00am: Masquerade parade

Route: Metro Acropolis, Plateia or Squares of: Saint Catherine, Philomous, Kydathinia, Adrianoupolis, Tripodon, Flessas,

Lysios, Marcus Aurelius, Adrianou St, Monastiraki

 

Mon 19 Feb | CLEAN MONDAY & (*national public holiday) | Philopappou Hill

From 10:00am: Traditional feasting, music and dancing.

 

Find more events on in Athens.