It’s almost that time of year again when just about anything goes as everyone around the island reaches for their funniest, silliest and most bizarre outfits! And if there’s one city on the island that knows the true meaning of living it up for carnival, it simply has to be Limassol, coming to life with heaps of colour and madness all round in the days leading up to Lent as thousands descend upon the seaside town.
And yes, carnival celebrations are taken mighty seriously, with carnival balls, costume competitions and a whole variety of upbeat street shows, all culminating in a Grand Parade along the town’s main streets on the Sunday before the start of Lent (February 18th this year).
That’s not to forget the DJs that prepare the best tunes to get crowds partying at bars and clubs throughout the town, as the municipality pull out all the stops to give locals and visitors alike the chance to rejoice.
As we all countdown to the big day, here are some highlights organised by the Limassol Municipality in the lead up to the Grand Carnival Parade!
1. Wednesday February 7th
Opening of carnival masks exhibition
In similar fashion to year’s past, the ‘Theomania Art Gallery‘ will be opening its doors to welcome crowds keen to take a look at some really unusual carnival masks from around the world. The exhibition will remain open until February 28th.
2. Thursday February 8th
Tsiknopempti foodie feast and entrance of carnival Queen!
The 8th of February will be a big day for those in Limassol and beyond, marking the start of carnival celebrations as copious amounts of delicious barbequed meat are consumed for this ‘Smoky Thursday’ which are later prohibited during the fasting period. Limassol is particularly fond of this celebration as just about everyone puts work aside for a few hours (or the whole day!) to enjoy a barbeque and good few drinks while donning fun and colourful outfits.
With heaps organised by the municipality on this day, the day will kick off with carnival fiestas at 11.00 am in front of the Limassol Cooperative Savings Bank and Hellenic Bank (Gladstonos Street), as well as the Bank of Cyprus (Ayiou Andreou Street). At 12.30 noon, the Limassol serenaders will be singing at Saripolou Square, while after 5.00pm, parades will take place throughout the city with the Limassol Municipality Brass band, while parties filled with carnival rhythms will be creating a real buzz before the King and Queen of Carnival enters the city with her brilliant entourage.
The parade will set off from Grigoris Afxentiou Square at 7pm (in front of the District Office Building) and will pass through the following streets: Anexartisias, Ayiou Andreou, Karaiskaki (Municipal Library), Stasinou and Andrea Drousioti, terminating at the Heroes square, where crowds will party to carnival sounds.
3. Saturday February 10th
Carnival trains, festive cycles and artistic inspiration
There are plenty of fun activities set to come to life on the 10th, and the wee ones will love hopping on this carnival train that will be whizzing around town, with plenty of singing and jollities. The first tour will take place at 10.30am, with more to follow (start point Limassol Co-operative Savings Bank on Gladstone’s Street). Be sure to also take the young ones into the courtyard of the Limassol Cooperative Savings Bank where they can enjoy a workshop on wax confetti eggs as well as a crazy mask workshop.
Keep in mind that at 3pm, the Limassol cycling club with cycle in a carnival mood around the city, with the ride starting and ending at the Medieval Castle Square. This will be followed by a Serenaders’ Event at Hellenic Bank at 6pm, and an exhibition at Studio 8 School of Art & Design at 8pm, dedicated to a revival of carnival days gone by.
4. Sunday February 11th
Children’s Parade & musical fun
The annual Children’s Carnival Parade will kick off at 11.30am on the sea front road Municipal Garden traffic lights. Limassol serenaders will then be giving it their all at 6.30pm in front of the Perama Music Stage.
5. Monday February 12th
This event should be music to your ears, with the Georgalletos Serenaders belting away tunes to get you in the festive mood at the Ayia Fyla quarter.
6. Wednesday February 14th
Valentine’s carnival party
Love is in the air as Limassol carnival takes on a romantic twist come Valentine’s day! Head down to the Enaerios Parking space to enjoy plenty of dancing with a prize for the top three Valentine’s costumes!
7.Thursday February 15th
Evening carnival parade
Get all dressed up after the sun goes down over the coastline with a parade that starts at 7.30pm at Grigori Afxentiou Square (in front of the District Office Building) and ends at the Medieval Castle Square with a carnival ball at 8.30pm. The Dreams Choir and Elena Solea invite you to sing and dance along with their orchestra to the rhythms of popular carnival songs, followed by a DJ programme. And once again, awards will be given to the three participants donning the best, craziest and most creative mask!
8. Saturday February 17th
Train journeys and classic car parade
The wee ones will have yet another opportunity to ride around town on a festive train – the first train will depart at 10.30am from the Limassol COOP (Gladstone Avenue), with more to follow soon after.
Love vintage cars? Then be sure to watch out for the Limassol Classic Cars Club driving around the city in true festive spirit, starting at 3pm the Enaerios Parking Place and ending at Grigori Afxentiou Square (in front of the District Office Building). This will be followed by a 6.30pm Serenader’s Parade in front of the Town Hall where the Limassol Municipality invites everyone to sing and dance along with the serenaders. And best of all, free wine will be on offer!
9. Saturday February 17th
Carnival Forever Party!
Attracting crowds from around the island, Carnival Forever is the most talked about carnival party in the country! You can expect a thrilling night to the pulsating beats by the one and only DJ Cotsios o Pikadillis (of the legendary Afro Banana Republic). The party will be taking place at Limassol’s Carob Mill, with doors opening at 10pm.
10. Sunday February 18th
Grand carnival parade
The moment that everyone has been waiting for! The grandest event of them all: the big carnival parade. All the action is set to take place down Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, starting at 1pm at Ayios Nikolaos roundabout and ending at the Polemidia Traffic Lights. The parade will be led by the King and Queen of Carnival, with countless floats following the royal couple!
Prepare to move and grove with carnival music pumping across town, as you set your sights on extravagant floats, groups of people dancing in outrageous gear, a brass band, percussion instrument groups, and the list goes on.
If you’re feeling a bit under the weather when it comes to bidding carnival farewell, worry not, as there’s a farewell carnival fiesta to keep you grooving until the wee hours at the Enaerios Parking Place at 9pm. And if you’ve gone all out with your costume, you may well be up for some recognition, as awards will be given to the best three participants.
For the full programme of this year’s Limassol Carnival celebrations visit www.limassolmunicipal.com.cy. Do keep in mind that the programme is subject to unexpected changes. For further info call: (+357) 25-342153/(+357 )25-745919.