The Carnival is the oldest and most popular folk festival in Cyprus. Throughout the centuries the tradition of the Apokries – the Carnival festive season – was celebrated across the island.
This year the festivities begin on Shrove Thursday (February 28th) when the two Queens of the Carnival will enter Limassol, and culminate with the Grand Parade on Sunday, March 10th.
The biggest and most well-organized event takes place in Limassol, where each year the municipality handles the administration of the celebration.
The heritage of the Carnival goes back to ancient Greece with a festival honouring Dionysus, the god of wine and fun. The first week, or Meat week, starts with the arrival of the King of Carnival into the city, accompanied with serenades, music, and dancing children. The second week, or Cheese week, symbolises the forthcoming lent, so no meat and only dairy products are consumed. On the last day, the Grand Carnival Parade invigorates the whole city, as thousands of people dressed in masks and bright costumes follow the King of Carnival to watch the floats on the sea and receive a good luck blessing from the King.