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The Greek carnival has its roots in ancient Greece and it is associated with the cult of Dionysus, god of wine and celebration.The English word "carnival" comes from the Latin “carnem levare” or “carnis levamen”, which means "termination of meat eating." In Greek the word "Apokria" is used, which means exactly the same. This popular tradition comes from the pagan rituals of the ancient Greeks and the celebrations in honour of Dionysus, god of wine and cheerfulness. People disguised in satyrs or wore masks and rushed out to the streets and neighbourhoods behaving "provocatively" speaking bold words and doing bold deeds. This served the purpose to be allowed to freely express sexual thoughts while hiding their true identity behind masks.
This tradition eventually spread to other parts of the world through the Roman Empire and the discovery of the New World. But the pagan practices were so ingrained therefore they were never completely abolished. Later, when Christianity appeared, although people stopped worshiping the gods of Olympus, the habits of the Greeks to disguise themselves and celebrate in the streets remained.
Once a year, carnivals take place in many cities and villages of our country. In fact, the carnival lasts three weeks and begins 60 days before Easter. It is called Triodio. The word comes from "three odes" meaning the three hymns we often say in church. It starts on the first Sunday, mentioned in the Gospel of "Telonis and Pharisee." On the second Sunday is the Gospel of the "Prodigal Son". The third is the "Carnival" and the last Sunday of Carnival, in which celebrations and events reach their peak, is "Tyrini". The end of the Carnival is the dawn of the next day: the first day of Lent, called Clean Monday. During these days, festivals and events are organized everywhere and people have a lot of fun, especially children. Adults and children are dressed in funny costumes, dancing, singing and watching parades, carnivals and other activities organized by the municipalities in almost every city of Greece.