Modern day carnival and participating bodies

In Limassol the Carnival festivities are carried on from generation to generation as part of family tradition or through participation in public and private events. The practice may well be described as an "initiation" of sorts. The children's parade is one such "en masse initiation." The parade is held on the first Sunday of the Carnival. Taking part are thousands of children in masquerade. It is perhaps the largest children's carnival parade around the world. Other forms of "initiation" include participating in the grand carnival parade, as well as certain carnival dances and events, which are pervaded by what has come to be known as the "genuine carnival spirit." The main attributes of this spirit are the satirical gigs and jokes, the serenading, the romanticism, the retro-style vibe, the partner dances (waltz, polka, tango etc.) as well as the close socializing of the participants.

Broadly speaking, the people carrying the torch of the Carnival tradition can be distinguished into two main categories: official and unofficial organisations/agents.

Unofficial agents include the people of Limassol, men and women of all ages and social status, who personally undertake the cost of fabricating masquerades for the parades and the various carnival events. Usually - though not always - the most ardent supporters are found among people who hail from the town's historic centre. However, many other people are also highly active, especially individuals with artistic or comedic inclinations, which tie perfectly into the whole carnival mood. Included among these people are not only Limassolians of Cypriot extraction, but also a number of foreign residents of Limassol or even people hailing from other towns who never miss the chance to take part in the carnival events each year.

Among the well-known participating organisations which have distinguished themselves in the carnival festivities throughout the years, are the Aris Limassol Choir, which has taken part in carnival parades and the highly successful carnival dances, the Girl Guides Association of Cyprus with their carnival dances and their team of cheerleaders, as well as the town's philharmonics which have provided the musical soundtrack for the parades for more than 100 years.

Especially important to the creation of the carnival spirit are undoubtedly the various bands of serenaders, who with their particular voices, their mandolins and guitars, are carrying on the decades-long romantic tradition.

Other unofficial organisations are the various mixed choirs, art clubs, charitable groups, schools of performing arts and dance schools, individual teachers, professors and nursery teachers, as well as the productive elements behind the carnival, that is, the seamstresses and tailors and the fabricators of chariots.

The official agent of the Carnival is the Municipality of Limassol, which organises the most important and mass-attendance carnival events. Preparations begin several months prior to the Carnival, with the involvement of the municipality's various departments and of the Cultural Services, and the active engagement of the Mayor and municipal councillors.

Photos of old Carnivals