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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 February 2019
10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2019 CULTURE Apokries in Australia Greek Australians could not be missing from the apokries fun. There will be plenty of carnival capers embedded into the 32nd Lonsdale Street Greek Festival in Melbourne this weekend with traditional apokries dances (see pages 16-17) as well as kiddies events, such as a treasure hunt. But there are also many other events worth keeping an eye out for over the coming weeks: The Pan-Samians of Melbourne are inviting young and old to attend their carnival party at the Springvale Greek Community Centre (13 Warwick Avenue, Springvale) on 1 March. Tickets are at $20 for members at $35 for non-members. Prizes for the best costumes. More info at www.pansamianvic.com Don't miss the apokriatiko (carnival) celebration at the Cretan Brotherhood (148-150 Nicholson Street, Brunswick). Come dressed up and enjoy the traditional music by Arthur Kostarakis (clarinet, vocals), John Kostarakis (vocals, percussion), Giannis Pollakis (Cretan lyra, vocals), Tony Iliou (lute), Nick Kapralos (guitar, vocals) and George Kiriakidis (accordion, trombone) and many special guests. Takes place at 7.30pm, 9 March. Tickets at $45 include food, $55 if not in costume and $25 for kids. The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria (148-15 Nicholson Street, Brunswick) is hosting an apokries (carnival) dinner dance at 7 on 16 March. Entertainment is by Stelios Vamvakas from Crete. Tickets are at $80 and $50 for kids. The Annual Agiasos Carnival Dinner Dance takes place on 9 March at 7pm. Presented by the Agiasos is famous for its theatrical carnival happening each year on Lesvos. Some of the playfulness of Agiasos and traditions such as the patinada - a courting ritual through town - will be revived at the Mytilenian Brotherhood of Sydney & NSW (225 Canterbury Road, Canterbury 2193). The Manasis dance troupe is presenting traditional carnival processions around Melbourne. At noon on 3 March, the troupe will be presenting an apokries carnival season procession for the Hellenic Community of Moorabbin (57 Madden Road, Heatherton), and again at 1pm on 9 March at Eaton Mall and the surrounding streets at Oakleigh. The costumes are particularly impressive, helping to make the presentation of carnival customs all that more authentic. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Apokries herald the weeks leading to Lent, and are marked with meat-eating and carnival revelry. Let the carnival capers begin! Carnival (apokries) revelry kicked off in Greece on 17 February with fascinating traditions being revived around Greece. There's everything from colourful parades and masquerades to fertility rites that allude to the pagan roots of Greek carnival time. For Christians, the meaning of apo-kries (from meat) is particularly significant in the three-week lead-up to Greek fasting for Lent that essentially farewells meat products from the diets of the faithful. These days, much of the religious sig- nificance of time-honoured rituals has been lost but people still relish going through the motions that tie them to their ancestors. Each week of the carnival season has its own name: the first week is profoni (heralds the approach of carnival); the second week is kreatini (meat); the third week is known as tyrini (cheese). Tsiknopempti (meaning "smokey Thursday"), in the middle of the meat-eating week, is considered the crescendo of the carnival season. Traditionally, the aro- mas of sizzling meat would fill the neighborhoods as people gathered at private gardens, neighborhood squares and church courtyards to enjoy each other's company over good food and wine. In modern times, city living has done little to diminish the meat-eating enthusiasm though the burden of the cooking has left the shoulders of housewives. So on 28 February this year, hordes will be seen heading to their humble neighborhood tavernas to squeeze around paper table-cloth set tables and pour house wine from no-frill copper jugs. At a time of economic crisis and uncertainty, the familiar traditions of carnival capers exorcise the scarier aspects of life. Take for instance the final-weekend parades held in cities, towns and even obscure villages from 8-10 March this year. As every year, they will poke fun at the glum situation, with floats that depict the absurdity of our times. These little shenanigans seem to make life a little bit more palatable. Masquerade mayhen and other traditions PATRAS, THE 'KING' OF CARNIVALS The third-largest city of Greece is famous for its carnival that dates back to around 190 years. The story goes that it began with a ball thrown at a mansion of one of the city's merchants in 1829, but each year it grows and becomes more elaborate. At some point, from 1870 onward, wealthier citizens began to finance carnival floats and the first parade came into being. These days, the entire city has a party atmosphere during the weeks of carnival with all manner of events taking place daily. These include balls, parades, chocolate wars, treasure hunts and much more. Events culminate with the burning of the king of the carnival on the final night of apokries. ATHENS, CAPERS AROUND TOWN Back in its heyday, Plaka was the queen of carnivals and neighborhoods were filled with jovial masqueraders. These days, kids still roam the winding streets dressed in colourful costumes, but the party-like atmosphere has given way to a more educational approach to apokries with presentations at museums dedicated to folkloric art. So if you want to know about carnival traditions, keep an eye out for events hosted by the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments, the Dora Stratou Museum, or Museum of Greek Folk Art. The area becomes a hotspot during Tsiknopempti old as well as a number of parades. Dancing, fun and revelry in Patras. as crowds head to tavernas to enjoy the meat. Too keep the vibe alive, the City of Athens also hosts numerous events in Plaka and Zappeion. But the real heart of the Ath- ens carnival is in Moschato, a subirb southwest of the CBD that now rivals Plaka as the city's top carnival contender. Like Patras, it has treasure hunts, concerts, music and dance shows for young and XANTHI CARNIVAL Xanthi, a stately town in northern Greece, is an aromatic blend of cultures and landscapes. It's carnival makes use of the backdrop by offering an event steeped in eastern tradition. The Thracian Folk Festival group established in 1991 has gone a long way in preserving the authenticity of the carnival and ensuring that traditions are in tact to showcase the history of the carnival that dates back to 1926. Another highlight is the burning of the tzar at the banks of the Kosinthos River. Skyros Carnival The Carnival in Skyros island is traditionally unique with the participants reviving the old custom of the goat or Tragos (in Greek). Dressed as "geros" (old man – geroi in the plural) and korella (girl – korelles in the plural) the men try to make as much noise as possible with the goat bells attached to their belts. The geros' face is covered by goat skin and he wears a black cape and white trousers. The goat bells around his waist may weigh up to 50 kilos and he must use his walking stick to resemble the walking of an old man. The korella (a man dressed as a woman) on the other hand is dressed in white and also has her face covered. The girl must help the old man sit down when he gets tired, sing to him, and help him walk through the crowded streets.
16 February 2019
02 March 2019