Carnival time at the traditional parade and customs of Hydra island.

Sofia Kioutsouki
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Here we are! Just arrived in Hydra island not for summer vacations but for their annual imaginative traditional carnival we have heard so many from our friends.

Normally, back in the old days, the carnival period used to start on the 17th of January, on the day of Saint Constantine the Great. Locals made their own drums which they used to inform the whole island about the start of the Carnival period. A great and loud way to start a fiesta, right? Everyone have to participate and have fun.

We didn't have the chance to experience this as we arrived there for the Sunday of the Carnival. We were ready for the "Mouskaria", the "Carnavalos", the "Donkey" and the "Black man". There are the good "Mouskaria" which are the beautiful and decent costumes and the old "Mouskaria" which are the weird or abnormal costumes and people make fun of.

There we go. It's Sunday morning and we have to get to Navarchos Votsis Square to join the parade, almost next to "Remezzo" tavern. We are also dressed so we enter the parade which is heading towards its first stop, which it the Lakka of Chilari, where "Mouskaria" stop to dance traditional songs and get treats from the people.

In front of the parade goes the "Donkey", our fabulous leader, which is carrrying a very "advanced" music soundsystems, consisting of a handmade box, plus battery, plus cassete-player, plus two speakers, playing the same cassete each year. We follow the Donkey wherever it goes and same does the "Carnavalos" whom we are leading to hang.

We are going around narrow streets, squares, churches and each time we stop at a certain spot in order to dance, sings, drink and get treats from the people. We are already drunk and having loads of fun! After two more stops we are heading towards our last stop.

The parade ends at tavern "Kseri Elia" where people are desperately waiting for the "Carnavalos" to get hanged, so that the demons are expeled and people get freed from evil. After this ritual the parade ends with....more dance, music, food and drinks! 

What an amazing time we had in such a small island like Hydra. Carnival is very special in this part of the world and i truly suggest you coming here for this amazing traditional custom.

Photos by hydra-hydrea-hydroussa blog


About the Author

Sofia Kioutsouki

My name is Sofia, i was born in Drama, raised in Thessaloniki and have been living in Kavala up to this moment. Nevertheless my heart belongs to Anatolia and the travels of the soul and the experience are those that thrill me most.

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