Patras Carnival

Patra's Carnival

Patrino karnavali (Patra’s Carnival) is the largest event of its kind in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe. This carnival is purely of Italian origin and it is completely unrelated to the pagan carnival customs of the rest of the country. The Carnival started approximately 180 years ago, and it is believed to have acquired a prestigious reputation thanks to the masquerade balls thrown in the mansions of the local bourgeoisie.

There’s even a Children’s Carnival!

At some point, from 1870 onwards, the bourgeoisie also began to finance the construction of carnival floats and the first parade came into being. The carnival of Patra’s flourished thanks to the city’s port and commercial relations with the cities of Italy, which, by the beginning of the 19th century had established a reputation as masters of carnival celebrations. In the mid 20th century, the carnival acquired its present form, as locals perceived it as a way to escape the gloom of the post-war years.

Along with the bourgeoisie’s events, parties were also thrown in tavernas or houses, called “boules” (an improvised masquerade, usually with the help of clothing belonging to the opposite sex). The floats and masquerades were also constructed by popular artisans. As well as the “boules”, we can also see the bourgeois influence in customs such as the waxed egg war, the chocolate war, or the dances which take place every night in Patra’s night clubs, social clubs, the Municipal theatre, even tavernas.

Read full Story: Greek National Tourism Organisation