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  • Shelley Dark

#8 Carnival Ydra style

This is dawn from my window this morning. I keep forgetting that there are pigeons sleeping on the terracotta roof next door. They couldn't give a toss about the fine wire fringing along all the ledges. I don't know who gets the bigger fright when I throw the windows open - me or the pigeons who rise into the air with a huge fluttering of wings. They fly away and I don't see them come back. I wish I could apologise.

But let me tell you about today's festival. We are at the end of Apokreas - the Greek carnival season preceding Lent.  It has its roots in ancient Greece, celebrating the god of wine Dionysus, the beginning of Spring, and life’s rebirth after winter. 

I'm not surprised that the churches eventually absorbed these pagan celebrations into their religious year - a case of if you can't beat them, join them.

medieval masquerade carnival 

The festival today was a masquerade parade. Historically it meant that you could lose your identity, ignore all the rules of good conduct, men dress as women and vice versa, and be silly without anyone knowing who you are. From what I could see, it's still the same.

It started at 2.30pm at Votsis Square. By the time I arrived, the band was playing and people were milling about in their fancy dress costumes, exclaiming over each other. 

The procession is based on an outrageous wedding party, with an ageing bride, her children bridesmaids and pregnant (pretend) teenagers. Little ones were dressed as their favourite cartoon characters, adults were dressed as pirates, packs of cards, sponge divers. Great fun!

The whole wedding party marched around the harbour ending at a live band, where the wedding ceremony began. 

​The donkey was in the lead of the procession and played the part of a mobile sound system...

The spirit of the festival led the wedding procession.

Then the bride and groom.

These grownup babies were the bridesmaids and held the bride's train. 

The guest list: the artist, the scullery maid and the bunny?

The pack of cards.

A weird  nephew?

When I asked her mother if I could take her photo, this sweet child nodded vigorously!

Can you see the dog, who wants to be part of the action?

A couple of Mexican ring-ins. The cigarette is on the phone.

When the world isn't taking a photo of you, take one of yourself.

The den of pirates had the best costumes....

Including grandpa.

The wizard gave a thumbs up.

Princess Blue

Mimi from a shop across the harbour.

This looks like a real sponge diver's suit from the 20th century. Hydriots were diving for sponges in the 1800's. Maybe you can remember Sophia Loren looking so gorgeous, diving for sponges in the movie Boy on a Dolphin?

Part of the band.

Not sure!

This little one wasn't too sure about being there, but great-granny was.

Even Long John Silver was there...