Secret Greece: An authentic experience of Greek Carnival in Skyros
Either with magnificent fun parades, as in the Carnival of Patras
, or with the revival of customs that, in many cases, are lost in the mists of time, the last three days of Carnival (this year on the 23/2) give rise to feasts and masquerades across Greece. If you are looking for a carnival experience outside the ordinary and authentic at the same time, we suggest Skyros
, an island in the cluster of the Sporades
, which keeps a low profile even in the heart of summer, when neighbouring Skiathos
teems with people. So, in the carnival of Skyros, as you saunter along the island’s alleys you will see funny-dressed people going around sounding big bells. Don’t be scared! They are the “Koudounati” [the bell bearers], the carnival participants, who go around Skyros in groups, reviving the age-old custom of the Old Man and Corella. The Old Men wrap a shaggy black cape around their shoulders and wear a mask made from goatskin, while the Corelles (usually men dressed in the traditional woman’s costume) pave the way for them dancing, singing and carrying everybody along with them with their cheerfulness.
The satirical custom of the “Trata” keeps everybody in a state of dionysian alert during the last Sunday of Carnival, while on Shrove Monday there is a treats galore. Located at the entrance of the town of “Chora”, “Nefeli Hote
l” consists of 5 buildings, each one with rooms decorated in a different style. For delicious spaghetti with lobster (the island is famous for its lobsters) and traditional stews you will go to “Stefanos” in Magazia.
Article by Athinorama