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Political satire with a bittersweet taste during the carnival in Patras

15 March 2013 / 20:03:45  GRReporter
2861 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

To Patras and its visitors, the end of the winter means a carnival. The port town has not been coincidentally named "queen of the carnival". It attracts each year thousands of visitors from all over Greece, who are determined to spend three days amid joy and crazy fun.

"Until a few years ago, figures in good mood in the euphoria of the celebration used to decorate the parading platforms. This year, all platforms except the platform of the carnival queen are inspired by the crisis and everything from our daily lives in recent years. Even the platform of the carnival king is called the "Monster of the crisis," the artistic director of the carnival, Maria Kourbana, told GRReporter.

One of the platforms, the work of artist Petros Vrioni, which will pass through the centre of Patras during the carnival weekend, is a satire on the property tax unaffordable for the majority of households.

"The characters on other platforms include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his partners in the ruling coalition - Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis. We also have the figures of the representatives of the supervisory Troika. Other platforms show in a funny way how their policies are affecting the lives of us all. For example, the platform called "Greek souvlaki" (Greek skewer) is a satire on the way the Troika’s requirements are harassing the Greeks. "


Despite the expectations of a small number of visitors, all hotels in Patras are full and the number of groups of enthusiasts who have applied to take part in the carnival procession is high. "On the other hand, the majority of Patras’ residents, who had left the town in previous years to spend the three rest days elsewhere, have stayed here this year. We also have many visitors who have come to visit their relatives and friends. Both yesterday and today, Patras is full of young people, arriving by cars, buses or trains. This is something that I personally did not expect to happen. "

According to Maria Kourbana, in addition to the festive fun and the opportunity to leave aside the problems for at least a few days, this year's carnival will be a "life-giving injection" for Patras, whose local economy is in decline.

She stresses that the city municipality funded the entire organization alone, the budget this year being equal to one fifth of that in 2011. "Over the past two years, it has been significantly reduced but this has not affected in any way its aesthetic and artistic character, and the events themselves. On the contrary - they are even more than before. This year, we have created a centre of the carnival in one of the most beautiful restored buildings in the city - the cultural centre "Agora Argiri." A large exhibition of the history of the carnival in Patras, whose beginning dates back to the distant 1829, has been arranged there. It also shows the events and celebrations that start in the end of January each year: Bourboulia feasts, the carnival of children, the "Hidden Treasure." The models of carnival platforms from previous carnivals are also displayed as well as a large number of photos and a documentary that presents the preparation and things behind the carnival parades."

A procession will be held on Saturday evening and the big carnival parade will take place on Sunday. The carnival king will be burned on Sunday night at the port of Patras as every year.

Photos of carnival platforms are available in our photo gallery.

Tags: SocietyCarnivalPatrasPolitical satire
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