It’s time to let loose, dress up and party on down: carnival’s in town! For the next 12 days the whole world’s a fiesta, and while our local celebrations may not boast quite the sequin-swathed sparkle of Rio’s Carnival, we do have one of the most seasonally sensational spectacles in the Med. The Limassol Carnival…
Famous for its love of a good celebration, Limassol is gearing up for its annual carnival marathon; an event so massive – and popular – that it merits its own Wikipedia shout-out: “The island festival is a colourful event of feasting, songs of sarcasm, games, processions and balls held in most towns of Cyprus – but the event in Limassol is the largest and most popular!” And this year’s carnival promises to deliver all that and more… starting with an evening of major musical madness at the Marina.
Valentine’s Day 2017 sees the celebrations begin with a 7pm concert by the Ariones Choir and a Limassol Majorettes’ show followed by a parade to the Trakasol Cultural Centre for the inauguration of the Limassol Carnival 2016 exhibition. Organised by the Limassol Municipality and the Cyprus Photographic Society, the exhibition will run throughout, and features a selection of photographs and carnival costumes from past events.
Wednesday brings more of the same, with the 6pm opening of a Carnival 2017 exhibition co-hosted by the Limassol Union of Self-Educated Painters accompanied by the Kato Polemidia Municipality Choir down at the Town Hall, followed by the annual carnival mask exhibition (and associated workshops, which will take place from 15 to 25) by Vera Efthimiou Parlalidou at the Theomaria Art Gallery.
On Thursday, events begin a little earlier in the day, and by 11am we can expect “carnival fiestas in front of the Limassol Cooperative Savings Bank and the Bank of Cyprus.” At 12.30pm The Limassol Serenaders will take to Saripolou Square, and by 5.30pm the party is over at the Town Hall, where the “Mayor and the Municipal Council, accompanied by the Limassol Municipality Brass Band and the Limassol Majorettes will parade through the streets up to the Grigoris Afxentiou square” before “the Lime & Sol group and the Batukinio percussion instruments group invite us to dance to the rhythm of salsa.” By 7pm, those not exhausted by the day’s excitements will be turning out for the big one: the entry of the Queen of Carnival and her entourage, which will include pretty much every city dignitary, bands of bands and choirs galore.
Friday is a little quieter, with a sole event being a choral performance at the Pattihio Municipal Theatre but by the weekend things are really hotting up. A children’s train, a crazy mask workshop and a treasure hunt are just some of the kid-centred activities taking place on Saturday while Sunday sees the annual Children’s Carnival Parade and a Serenaders Event in front of the Perama Music Stage.
If you’ve still energy to spare after a jam-packed first week, then you’ll be ready to plunge into yet more musical performances on Monday 20 and the Pellomaska Parade on Tuesday 21 – which starts in Heroes Square and ends with a masked fiesta and costume competition at the castle. On Wednesday 22 we’re back at the Trakasol Centre for carnival songs with the Limassol Tetrafonia, followed by the Big Street Party in University Square at 8.30pm, while Thursday 23 sees the Evening Carnival Parade from Grigori Afxentiou – ending in a Carnival Ball (and another costume competition) at the Medieval Castle Square – and Friday 24 brings another Serenaders Evening at the Limassol Marina.
And so we come to the last two days, and what a weekend it’s shaping up to be! Saturday 25 is definitely not a time to be on the roads: you’ll have to contend with the Children’s Train, the Limassol Classic Car Club “driving around the city in a carnival mood”, and an evening serenade parade with free wine – another good reason to go on foot! And if you’re still not legless by Sunday, you won’t want to miss the final celebrations: the Grand Carnival Parade down Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, a Farewell Carnival Fiesta at the Enaerios parking place, and a Parade of Limassol Majorettes – taking us right back to where we started, the Limassol Marina. But even if you can’t stay the distance, with 12 full days of activities, events and general revelry there’s bound to be something at the Limassol Carnival that floats your float!
The Limassol Carnival
February 14 to 26. For a full programme of events visit www.limassolmunicipal.com.cy or call 25 745919