The annual Patras Carnival opened Saturday with a ceremony at the main square of Aghios Georgios.
The pre-Lent festival will conclude on March 17, a Sunday. This year’s theme is “Be Unplugged!” and the events will begin on Wednesday (January 16), with town crier (Maria Agouridi) riding on a musical float, announcing the famed carnival’s start, and calling the public to gather at the square.
On Saturday morning, a procession took place with musical bands, carnival bicycles, the organizers, the carnival queen (Georgia Sakka), and other celebrants. Then Patras Mayor Kostas Peletidis received the carnival’s banner.
At 18:00 on Saturday a party started at the Aghios Georgios Square, while at 20:00, the theater troupe Helix and a Baroque procession leaving from the City Hall to parade through the city with participants including actors, musicians, acrobats, fire jugglers, and Harlequins. This is the traditional Saturday night parade, not the spectacular Grand Parade at the close of the carnival.
At 21:00, the mayor declared the official opening of the Patras Carnival, to be followed by the traditional ‘chocolate war’, during which the city’s confectioners thew chocolates from the City Hall’s balcony. A concert also ttook place and the start of the annual Treasure Hunt was also formally declared.
The official schedule of the carnival is at the following site (mostly in Greek): https://www.carnivalpatras.gr/en/apokria/opening-ceremony/.
The Patras Carnival is the largest in Greece and involves preparations that begin a year earlier, with a large number of volunteers as well.