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
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
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
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.
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