Cyprus Mail

Carnival king attempts to spread cheer amidst pandemic

A single float paraded the Limassol streets on 'Stinky' Thursday yesterday, the day the carnival season usually kicks off. Virtually all festivities have been cancelled due to the pandemic (CNA)

In order to spread some festive cheer around town, Limassol’s Carnival King toured the city on ‘stinky Thursday’, a tradition observed each year to mark the beginning of the Carnival festivities but also the beginning of the gradual weaning off meat and dairy in preparation for the 50-day lent period that leads to Easter Sunday.

The traditional carnival parade was scrapped by the Limassol municipality because of the pandemic and replaced by alternative celebrations such as exhibitions and live performances throughout March.

Giorgos Nikolaou, a dance teacher from Limassol, who was chosen as the Carnival King for the second year in row, urged his fellow residents to remain positive and to smile during a difficult and testing time for the city.

“Carnival is about optimism and joy and it is my duty to bring on smile on people’s faces during this sad period,” he told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) prior to the start of his tour.

“I have taken part in the parade for the past 25 years and I know how difficult it is for people this year to not dress up and have fun together.

“Nevertheless, we must not be miserable but look forward to better times. We all went through tougher periods, like I did in 1974 when I was a refugee after the invasion.

“We must all prioritise our health and I believe in a few years we will look back at what is happening now and we will be proud of the fact we went through it,” the Carnival King said.

His chariot will also tour the town on Saturday and on Sunday, March 14 which is the day the big parade would have taken place this year.

Meanwhile, over 60 police officers and 30 patrol cars have been deployed to monitor the situation in Limassol on Thursday to make sure all the measures in place against the spread of Covid-19 are respected. No incidents have been reported.

Apart from the additional police officers and patrol cars, 12 members of the national guard and four customs officers were also dispatched on the streets of Limassol on Thursday.

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