By Andria Kades
It’s Limassol’s time to shine again in its most celebrated parade – the carnival.
This year around 20,000 people are expected to march down Makarios Avenue in 120 floats in next Sunday’s grand carnival parade – which includes the famous queen and serenaders.
“This is a far cry from what it was like in the 1960s and 70s when the floats would have to go around 10 times for people to realise that it was the carnival,” cultural services employee at the municipality, Skevi Antoniadou recalls.
Now, it’s a huge festival with themes inspired from a whole host of various topics – movies, games, politics.
“There’s things like Pokemon, Trump, the Cyprus problem. Back then the themes were from daily routine. For example, this year, we’ve brought back a float from 1968 where the Limassolians mocked Nicosia for having it all. The Hilton, the GSP stadium.”
“Some topics are timeless – there’s always going to be pirates for instance.”
But there’s a lot of work that goes behind the carnival and it begins early.
“Preparation starts from October. The cloth merchant will begin selling the material, the seamstress will begin preparing the costumes, the people that cut up the paper for the confetti. It’s a huge boost to the local economy.”
There’s also the wider scope – restaurants, candy stalls, hotels people choose to stay at, bars, clubs. “The entertainment begins in the morning and ends the next morning,” Antoniadou told the Sunday Mail.
And for those all-important costumes, the municipality is always eager to boost the appeal of tailor made outfits. “Our local seamstresses in Limassol have no complaints,” she said.
It’s about being local. Of course, people will inevitably head to big stores for a ready one but “there’s still big business from tailored outfits.”
Maske Amalias, an outfit rental store, has been operating in Nicosia for 52 years. It’s a family business now run by 28-year-old Giannis Droushiotis. He has had some odd requests over the years – tavli, traffic lights, salt and pepper and a variety of vegetables.
A few years ago, the store even had a costume called Viagra. A blue outfit with “something inappropriate protruding from the top”.
Inevitably, the most popular outfits always follow trends based on current events and entertainment. “Foreign series are always a popular theme. This year for instance we have Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black and Prison Break because it’s coming back,” said Droushiotis.
Marios Petrides, manager of La Casa shop in Limassol, that offers outfits all year round and has been operating for 50 years said people’s enthusiasm for dressing up just keeps increasing.
“People follow fashion and their inspiration can be from a historical figure or something from the future like sci-fi.”
Which of course makes Star Wars a popular outfit in both stores.
According to Petrides, there’s also plenty of demand for Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Minnie Mouse, Ninjas.
Meanwhile, Droushiotis said comic heroes such as Batman, Superman, the Avengers are quite a hit. Couples might go for a Pharaoh and Cleopatra duo, a knight and a princess or pirates. A group of friends might even choose to dress up something like The Flintstones.
“Now, more people dress up. Carnival is a time for people to escape their daily routine and their problems,” he added.
“Even if they’re on a tight budget they can still get something small like a wig or a mask,” Petrides said.
While Petrides says there’s over 200 costumes in his shop to choose from, if you’re looking for something specific – don’t leave it too late.
In Droushotis’ store the last-minute outfits are always the classic – a priest, a nun or an animal. So don’t leave it too long if you’re looking for something original.
For list of events visit http://www.limassolmunicipal.com.cy/carnival