- Title: GREECE: THE PATRAS CARNIVAL.
- Date: 13th March 2005
- Summary: CARNIVAL FLOAT WITH OCTAPUS. CARNIVAL REVELLERS DRESSED AS ARTISTS AND DANCING.
- Embargoed: 28th March 2005 13:00
- Location: PATRAS,GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Entertainment,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA6DQ14NOV0GG7AB6PKGH3G70A5
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- Story Text: Carnival season reached its height in Greece with the countrys largest and most colourful parade in the western port city of Patras.
On Sunday (March 13), thousands of people flocked to the western Peloponnese city of Patras to take part in the largest and most famous carnival in Greece.
The carnival draws its roots from ancient Greece, when the wine god Dionysos was worshipped with wine and dancing.
Despite the country's conversion to Christianity, such pagan festivities have continued throughout the centuries, finding their expression in the biggest carnival in the country in Patras.
Although mytholigical gods are often a theme in the colourful floats of the Grand Parade, this year's theme was dedicated to the environment and other ecological issues.
Many floats depicted amusing and satyrical messages related to the environment, featuring flowers, genetically modified foods or the recycling of rubbish. Organisers said that about 40,000 people actually took part in the parade this year.
Anyone can don a costume and participate in the parade, attracting merrymakers from around the country, as well as Europe, who see it as their one chance to break loose and have a good time.
Preparations for the making of the many different colourful costumes and floats begin many months in advance and teams of merrymakers compete every year to come up with the best and most ingenious ideas.
At night's end on Sunday, the King of Carnival float is burned on a pier to bid goodbye to the merrymakers, but drinking and dancing in costume will continue for the next days, and include theatrical performances, treasure hunts and other festive games.
The entire city is transformed into a street party, with everyone in costume, and noise and music around every corner.
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