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Get to know Cyprus wine

The 57th annual Limassol Wine Festival will begin next Friday night, August 31 – opening the gates to 10 days of festive drinking, dancing and, of course, eating with a colourful array of fireworks.

The wine festival, which started in 1961, is a staple on the Limassol calendar and has succeeded in attracting thousands of tourists and locals to the Limassol municipal gardens each year, allowing the wine to pour freely and setting the mood, high.

This year’s festival, which will span 10 days instead of 11, will have a decreased entrance price of €5, while the ticket holder will be entitled to a 20 per cent discount on any bottled wine of their choice from the four major wineries Etko, Loel, KEO and Sodap.

Apart from existing bus routes covering the tourist area of Limassol, extra buses will be available to transport visitors to the festival from all major cities.

The seven-metre vraka man, dressed in traditional outfit, will be standing over the festival to greet visitors and party goers. Wine sluggers can enjoy traditional song and dance from Cyprus, Crete and Latvia or take a turn in the grape stomping barrel.

Smoked herring and other titbits will be available to complement the wide variety of Cypriot wine picked from vineyards with 4,000 years of tradition under the sun.

The Limassol Wine Festival has its origins in ancient times when similar feasts were held during the harvest season. It is seen as a revival of ancient festive manifestations of worship in honour of Dionysus, the god of vine and pleasure, and Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love.

It is firmly rooted in the Great Dionysia – an ancient dramatic festival in the honour of the god Dionysus which introduced theatrical performances of tragedy, comedy and satiric dramas to the western civilization. It was held in Athens every March and was attended by all of its residents as well as visitors from outside of Greece. After the conclusion of the various poets’ performances, judges that were elected by the people awarded a prize to the best poet.

According to the Limassol municipality, during these feasts man worshipped the gods but primarily enjoyed himself. The wine festival has become an established annual event of merrymaking and fun, in which the residents of Limassol are joined by merrymakers from all over Cyprus and beyond.

Limassol mayor Nikos Nikolaidis said that this year’s festival will be better than ever.

“The wine festival is a great folk festival with a huge tradition, it is a celebration honouring the Cypriot farmer, the Cypriot winemaker and Cypriot wine,” he said.

Wine Festival
A festival with wine, entertainment and local dishes. August 31 until September 9. Limassol Municipal Gardens, Limassol. Weekdays: 7pm-11pm, weekends: 7pm-11.30pm.