Naxos Carnival

The Carnival of Naxos: Over the last few years, local authorities and voluntary teams in Naxos have attempted to revive the carnival festivities. These festivities are strongly related to Greek mythology - in particular, the god Dionysus, who lived on the island. More specifically, on the last weekend of the Carnival (the weekend before Clean Monday), various events take place in the villages of Naxos.

On Friday night of the last Carnival Weekend, the custom of Methydotia is presented in Naxos Town, with participants trying to revive the philosophy of the god Dionysus, the most ambiguous of the Olympian Gods. The music is ecstatic and wild, meeting the two contradictions of life. Men of Methydotia are dressed as satyrs, women as Maenads, and together they represent scenes from the life of Dionysus and his followers.

On Saturday night, a torch parade is organized and constitutes the hallmark of the Naxian carnival. The parade starts in Kastro and continues to the beach of Naxos Town. The dominant features of the parade are light and methexis, which represent Apollo and Dionysus, respectively. All participants hold a lighted torch in hand, wear white bed linen and paint their faces with black and white dye. Rakomelo (rakee boiled with honey) and wine are offered at the end of the parade in the central square, where local music is played with the instruments of tsambounes (traditional bagpipes) and doumbakia (traditional drums). Visitors dance folk dances, and the entire atmosphere is cheerful, till the early hours.

On Sunday noon, the Carnival parade takes place in Naxos Town with many sarcastic floats, whose themes are inspired by actuality. This is the closing event of the Naxos Carnival.

In the meantime, many villages around the island revive costumes.
Koudounati is a tradition of Apiranthos, where men dressed in old clothes run through the village with a cowbell tied around their necks and tease the villagers.
Kordelades is another Carnival-related custom, which takes place in Kinidaros, Egares, Melanes, and Galini villages. A troupe consisting of a leader (bairaktar), young people dressed as evzones with colorful ribands hanging from their backs, "robbers", and instrument players visit several parts of the region. Preparation and visits to the neighboring villages are part of the ritual.