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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul - 10:33 (2018)    Post subject: The festival closes w Reply with quote

By Maria Spiliopoulou

PATRAS Anthony Beauvillier Womens Jersey , Greece March 2 (Xinhua) -- To the beat of deafening Carnival music and whistles, 30,000 revelers took to the streets of the western Greece city port of Patras on Sunday to celebrate life and beat the financial woes through satire.

In the climax of a month-long annual festival which tops all Carnival festivities across the country for decades, the young and old, locals and visitors dressed in fun, colorful costumes and braving the rain danced throughout the city center for hours sharing anti-austerity jokes.

The financial crisis which has hit Greece hard over the past four years featured in several parade floats with gigantic effigies of Greek politicians and auditors of international lenders which carried names such as "Help Casey Cizikas Womens Jersey , they are robbing us."

Despite the economic slump, as financial figures are improving in recent months, people are looking on the brighter side of life turning a traditional feast, which heralds the beginning of the pre-Easter fasting period of Lent, into a parody of the crisis.

The Carnival is the largest event of its kind in Greece, counting 180 years of history. It stems from the Italian and French-inspired masquerade balls thrown in the mansions of the local bourgeoisie.

With links to the worship of the ancient Greek God of wine Adam Pelech Womens Jersey , Dionysus, it flourished over the course of time, gaining a reputation as the best destination to party hard in Greece during the Carnival season.

In particular in the last weekend, the entire town, and its about 300,000 visitors Calvin De Haan Womens Jersey , move to the rhythms of the dancing parade groups in a series of events planned by the Municipality of Patras.

The scale of participation is impressive for European standards and "the secret of success of Patra's Carnival," Christos Christopoulos, a member of the Municipality's board told Xinhua shortly before the start of Sunday's Grand Parade.

The volunteers participating in the carnival in more than 120 groups are bearing a part of the cost of the festival, sponsors cover the major share and the Municipality invests about 300,000 euros (414,700 U.S. dollars) Jaroslav Halak Womens Jersey , his colleague Vivian Samouri added.

The wide smiles spreading during the open air party and dancing at night clubs which last for hours, are worth each cent, according to participants and spectators.

Local businessmen are hoping that the event will help the economy. Hotels filled up for the Carnival weekend, bringing some relief to the tourism industry, as Patras' city centre was filled with bright lights, feathered costumes Brock Nelson Womens Jersey , music and laughter.

"Patras' carnival is interwoven with the city's history and vitality ... It became a levee against the crisis that has left a strong imprint on the society. The participants turned the crisis into a creative lever that provided optimism. The carnival is unaware of the crisis, because it is synonymous with progress and development," according to Patras' Mayor Yannis Dimaras.

Amidst the crisis, instead of losing its energy, the Carnival seems to have become on the contrary more inventive.

Sunday's procession of floats and revelers led by the King of the Carnival which comes after a similar night parade on Saturday evening, is the main event ending in a "chocolate war" with desserts tossed to the crowd.

Later in the evening Anders Lee Womens Jersey , the city's women hold the leading role in a unique ball traditionally held at the Carnival Dance Hall, named "Bourboulia."

Dressed in domino robes, the masked ladies pick their male partners to dance and flirt. The tradition derives from the early days of the Carnival when the first mixing of social classes and unescorted women occurred, locals explained.

The festival closes with the burning of the Carnival King's effigy at the harbor amidst dance and theatre performances and a spectacular fireworks show.

By midnight the city bids farewell to the Carnival King and the Mayor announces the theme of next year's festival.

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