“Apokria” is the Greek term that indicates the period which ends up to Lent, before the Orthodox Easter, and it is usually celebrated in every corner of Greece where great Carnival parades are taking place and a lot of excitement and pleasure overwhelms the participants.
It is also one of the most vibrant traditions of Naxos which is celebrated with festive manner especially the week before the Shrove Monday. The island of Naxos during the time of the “Apokria”, offers the pleasure and the ecstasy of a festival blessed by the ancient Greek god “Dionysus” (the god of wine and feast), which comes to a head on the weekend before the Lent. On this last weekend, celebrations are held in most of the villages and settlements where each of them contributes uniquely to the remarkable amusement of the visitors.
Proper feasts are taking place in every small town where you can savour the traditional dishes followed by plenty of wine and folk music. For example, in “Apeiranthos” village, the commotion and excitement are the dominant features of the “Koudounatoi” custom (the bell ringers), who appear dressed up in a peasant’s hooded cloak and storm the streets of the village shaking their bells accompanied with yells and shouts. On the other hand, at “Chora” on Friday (28th of February) it will be revived the myth of the marriage between god Dionysus and Ariadne and on Saturday (1st of March) it will follow the famous “Torch Race” at the Castle. The events finale will be on Sunday (2nd of March) with the great “Carnival Parade” at the beach of “Chora”. Finally during the Shrove Monday’s (3rd of March) celebrations, the villagers, primarily in the villages of the “Livadi” area, are dressing up in skirts, colourful ribbons and gold coins and they are dancing separated in teams at the villages’ squares. All of these folk customs involving masquerade are probably revived from the times of the ancient Dionysian festivals. Thus, it is not coincidence that these customs of the “Apokria” are taking place during the same time period as the ancient Greek festivals, the Dionysian springtime.
The Carnival peak days for 2014 are between the 28th of February and the 1st of March and Naxos is preparing to present its best festive side with special happenings and events. For this reason, Naxos invites everyone to experience unique moments dedicated to the god of wine and feast “Dionysus” as long as customs steeped in history.