January 17, 2022 to March 7, 2022
Who knew Greece was home to one of the best carnivals around the world? The Patras Carnival
is one of the biggest Carnival events in Europe, however it remains surprisingly unknown outside of Carnival-lover circles. Yet it’s been around for more than 180 years, and includes a long list of of events from balls, to street parades, to the burning of the Carnival King, to one of biggest Children’s Carnivals around the world.
Patrino Karnavali, as it’s called in Greek, is tied to the Greek Orthodox calendar, however it also has close ties to ancient pagan festivals honoring Dionysus. During the festival, the city center is overrun with revelers, who drink Mavrodaphni
, a thick, syrupy sweet wine in the streets, and feast on as much BBQ meat as they can stomach before the festivities end for lent on ‘Clean Monday’.
While the carnival officially starts three weeks before lent, the final week is the most extravagant. While parties rage in the street and balls take place behind closed doors, the faithful prepare for the final parade on Carnival sunday, where an endless stream of floats make their way through the streets to delight 30-40 thousand onlookers. The festivities go down in flames with the burning of the Carnival King Float on Sunday night at the St. Nikolaos Street pier. It’s a spectacle not to be left out of any Carnival calendar.