The Carnival of Patras is the biggest, fanciest, and oldest carnival celebration in Greece! Organized annually since the 19th century, it constitutes a pole of attraction for people who love to dress up and have fun, hosting more than 30.000 masquerades every year!
The opening ceremony takes place during the third week of January, and more specifically on the first Saturday after January 17th (Saint Anthony's Feast Day) and includes musical and dancing events, acrobatics and games for all age groups! The ceremony starts in the morning and reaches its peak after the Mayor of Patras announces the carnival's start following the parade float of "The Carnival King".
After the carnival starts, an array of events take place up until Clean Monday, the day signaling that Greek-Orthox Easter is in 40 days. The most impressive and lively events are the two core parades taking place the weekend before Clean Monday; the Night Parade on Saturday night and the Grand Parade on Sunday morning. During the parades, more than 150 groups of masquerades comprised dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people each!
The closing ceremony on Sunday night marks the end of all celebrations. The event takes place in the jetty of Saint Nicholas, where the King of the Carnival is burnt. After the burning, a spectacular fireworks show starts, drawing the attention of all the people of Patras!
The 2024 Patras Carnival started on Saturday, January 20th and will end on Sunday, March 17th.