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... The Corfu Carnival

With its roots in Ancient Greece and an atmosphere redolent of Venice, the Corfu Carnival is arrayed in an old and illustrious wardrobe of clothes from Corfiot history and culture, from Barbarossa and Tartufo to Don Bazilio and Katona, as well as from contemporary citizens who have lent prestige to the Corfu island. Personalities and events from current affairs as well as the past are satirised with unrestrained humour, and the masked participants show no mercy towards their victims. If your first impression of the island at this time is unexpected and somewhat unusual, whether in tavernas, bars, alleyways or villages, you will soon realise that it is due to the lunacy of the season and the extravagance of the Ionian celebrations.

Carnival developed from the ancient Greek festivals, from rites in honour of Dionysios, God of Wine, which took place at the start of Spring in order to procure a good harvest and successful breeding among the animal stock. With the passage of time, the Carnival celebrations were broadened , and here in Corfu were enhanced by Venetian influences, such as the traditional figures disguised as 'doctors' or 'notaries', the use of masks and soot to blacken the face.
The inspiration, the work and in general all the preparations for the floats which each team displays begin a year in advance at gatherings in tavernas and private houses. Here the craziest ideas are put forward, and the one that is chosen is kept completely secret until the moment of its first appearance on the streets of the town. Celebrations begin on the first Sunday of Carnival, Asotos Sunday (Septuagesima), with a trial run of the Carnival procession through the town to check the floats, to start off the fun and to get everyone into the right mood.




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