Update: Lefkada Carnival 2020 has been cancelled by the Greek Government, as a protective measure for the spreading of the Corona virus. All carnival parades in Greece were cancelled.
So you've heard about the lekfada carnival season.
What is Faromanita (Φαρομανητά) meaning?
Organized by the Cultural Center of Lefkada, Faromanita is the local name, used only in Lefkada Island, for the celebration known in Greece as Apokries – the carnival season. Faromanita could be translated in English as “Let’s make some noise!” or ‘the noise of laughter and joy’.
When and where does faromanita take place?
In 2020, the Lefkada Carnival (Faromanita) starts on the 20th of February 2020 and ends on the first day of spring, Sunday, 1st of March 2020.
Update: All carnival events have been cancelled all over Greece to help contain the spreading of Coronavirus.
The dates change each year, but it’s always happening during February-March.
This event shows a character of Lefkada that not too few tourists know about. The whole island is totally transformed, as it dominated by a playful energy, filled with smiles, good mood and masquarades.
Lefkada carnival VIDEO - the street parades of Lefkada
Here is a video made during the Faromanita Grand Parade in 2019, which depicts the lively atmosphere of this fantastic street show.
The video also contains moments of the International Folklore Festival in Lefkada, that takes places each year during August, in Lefkada, gathering hundreds participants from many countries and cultures. I will also talk about this beautiful cultural event, soon.
Important events of Faromanita
During this festival period, many cheerful events and activities are organized on the island.
All villages put on a “fiesta” mode and local celebrations are being displayed almost everywhere.
Here are a few important moments of this traditional celebration.
Faromanita usually starts on a Thursday, which is a special Thursday that Greek people call Tsiknopempti. This could be translated in English as Barbeque Thursday (Smoky, Grill).
Two words were combined to form this term: tsikna (τσίκνα) – a Greek work describing specifically the scent of the cooked, grilled or roasted meat and pempti (Πέμπτη), meaning Thursday.
Tsiknopempti is the given name for the Thursday of the second week of Apokria. All this week, Greek people consume big quantities of meat before the beginning of the 40 days of days without meat, called The Great Lent or Great Fast ( Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή or Μεγάλη Νηστεία).
This day is exactly 11 days before Clean Monday. You might even hear people joking about it, calling it “The Carnivore Feast Day”.
On this special day, if you walk around the villages in Lefkada, you see the Lefkadians preparing lots of meat on the barbeque. Many locals get together with family and friends and share the grilled meat.
If they’re not celebrating at home, they visit tavernas where they will “tsiknisoun” – eat meat, smell the grilled meat smoke (tsikna), drink, dance and have a good time.
During this day, Greeks are said to stuff their bellies with enough meat, to carry them through the 40 days of Lent, when they are not allowed to consume any meat at all.
While souvlaki (meat on a stick) is the most common go-to dish for this day, many other types of cooked or grilled meat are being served.
Tsiknopempti date for 2020: Thursday, February 20th.
During this day, the last Sunday of the Carnival, people can only eat non-meat products. They prefer to eat pasta with cheese or macaroni.
Did you know that macaroni comes from “makaria”, which means blessed (from the Greek goddess of Blessed Death) and “aionia”, that means “eternal” or “everlasting life”.
- Tirofagos date for 2020 in Lefkada: Sunday, March 1st.
There is a special day dedicated to children and families. This is the Sunday after Tsiknopempti. You will see hundreds of children on the streets, dressed in funny carnival costumes.
The kids are extremely happy that they have a dedicated day, where they are in the center of the attention. After all, this is all they want at that age 🙂
The groups get together on a stage, at the entrance of the island, where the bridge ends. After the ceremony ends you’ll see families relaxing at coffee bars or taverns on Lefkada’s Town streets.
- Children’s Carnival date for 2020 in Lefkada: Sunday, February 23rd.
The Grand Carnival Parade
The most important day of the Carnival Season is of course, the costumed street parade. You will never see Lefkada’s main pedestrian street as crowded and as energetic, as it is during this Parade.
It is a delight to watch the hundreds of costumed people as they pass by, dancing, smiling, making funny faces and waving.
The coffee shops around are full with spectators enjoying the lively show. People of all ages participate, showing that having fun is ageless.
It’s a total masquerade and that’s the beauty of it. For some people the whole thing is just silly, but for most, that’s the whole charm to it – allowing yourself at least for one day to feel like a kid again.
Do not miss the occasion to watch the parade if you’re around!
- Faromanita – The Grand Carnival Parade in 2020 in Lefkada: Sunday, March 1st. (Ioannou Mela Street).
2020 official schedule of Faromanita
Here is the official schedule of the Carnival Season in Lefkada, as presented by the local authorities. Sorry guys, I tried to translate the schedule, but my Greek is not there yet. If you can, try asking a native Greek to translate this for you.
I think the most important things you need to know is that the Children’s Carnival takes place on Sunday, February 24th, 2020 at the entrace of Lefkada, immediately when you exit the bridge and that the Grand Parade of the Carnival happens on March 1st, 2020 on the Ioannou Mela St. at around 4 PM.
Participate at the festival activities
Anybody can participate at the Carnival events and the Grand Parade.
You can register at the office of the Cultural Center of Lefkada (Sikelianou & Svoronou 1 Lefkada, 31100, Greece) or by phone +3026450-26635 or +3026450-22620.
About the Carnival Season in Greece - Apokries (Αποκριές)
The Carnival Season in Greece (reffered to as “Apokries“) takes places on different dates each year, but always sometime in February and March. I
It is said that this celebration dates back to Ancient Greece, when people were saying “good bye” to winter and “welcome” to spring. It was dedicated to Dionysus – the Greek God of Wine, often associated with festivity, pleasure, madness, and wild frenzy.
Apokries meaning in English is “away from meat”. You might be surprised to learn that the word “carnival” also has the same meaning. It was formed by the Latin caro, carn– (flesh, meat) + levare “to put away”.
Similar to well-known carnivals in the world, this period is an ode to having a good time, which for the Greeks, means wearing funny carnival costumes, masks, parties, eating and drinking in ridiculous quantities, and a generating a total frenzy all around.
Let me know in a comment if you have participated at this carnival and what you thought of it. If you have more info, send it to me, I’ll be more than happy to add it to this post.