Carnival is coming to Limassol! Reputed to be “the coolest street festival outside of Rio”, for two weeks the entire region pulsates to the frenetic beat of troubadour dancing and song, eye-popping costume parades, and fantastical fancy dress balls.
As the drama of each day’s events unfold, waves of excitement circulate throughout the island’s many clubs, bars and hotels. The pre-Easter event is celebrated just about everywhere on the island, but the carnival at Limassol is by far the largest and most popular. Everyone is eagerly waiting to catch sight of the next opulent display, not least the many guests who have booked in at Londa Beach Hotel for the annual festivities.
Meat Week begins with “Stinky Thursday”
The origins of the Limassol Carnival can be traced back to the original celebrations held before the fasting period of Lent begins, but also linked to pre-Christian times, and the Dionysian Festivals of classical antiquity. A long held tradition is ‘Meat Week’ – the consumption of meat and wine in the first week of carnival – and the last time for eating meat before Easter. The day the festival starts is also known as “”Stinky Thursday” because of the cooking aromas of meat, which fill the air over the town.
It’s no surprise, then that Limassol starts to get into party mood even before the main carnival parades begin!
Cheerleaders whipping up a frenzied beat!
On Tuesday 14th February, a costume parade will follow a singing event, to be held at the Cultural Centre, Limassol Square – complete with cheerleaders whipping up a frenzied beat! It’s also St Valentine’s Day, of course, and Londa Hotel, together with Caprice Restaurant will be helping to create just the right mood for both occasions.
The Limassol Carnival officially begins on 16th of February – Shrove Thursday (Pancake Day) – when the Queen of the Carnival,“The Deep Blue of the Mediterranean”will make her grand entrance in a fabulous chariot, and proceed right through the town especially decorated for the occasion. A huge children’s fancy dress competition is also to be held at the Tsirion Athletic Stadium.
Children are very much part of the carnival tradition. On the first Sunday of the festival (19th), the annual children’s parade is considered to be one of the key events of the carnival. There’s even a treasure hunt planned too – one definitely for the children. Over the previous three days, throngs of troubadours, serenaders and carnival players will be singing out across the town and on the radio airwaves.
Spectacular grand outdoor costume ball
Now the Carnival is in full flow. Over the second week – known as ‘Cheese Week’ – due to the copious eating of dairy products – a dizzying schedule of parades, choirs, masked balls, concerts, competitions and exhibitions will be staged every day. As an ecstatic celebration of song and dance, Limassol Carnival is for everyone of all ages and backgrounds. For centuries, the great urban and family tradition of carnival has been handed down from one generation to the next, and to experience the energy and spirit of the ancient carnival gods.
The Londa Beach Hotel is close to where the main parade will take place at the climax of the festival on the 26th February. Guests have a wonderful opportunity to take in the spectacular sights and sounds of the final, Grand Parade, once again led by the Queen of the Carnival accompanied by an army of chariots.
More than 150 floats and 50,000 people, at least, may be expected to take part once again in the procession. At 9.00 pm, the 2017 Limassol Carnival will reach its musical festive climax at the Old Port Square with a grand outdoor costume ball. Awards will be given for the best- and most crazy – of masks and costumes!