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dionysian festivals - טיולים לרחבי העולם

Dionysian festivals in Greece

Easter just like Christmas is a focal point uniting Paganism and Christianity all over the Balkans. The Greek Carnival (Apokries) is an example of that unity. Its roots we can find the Dionysian celebrations and through it people try to ensure good harvest, lots of animals in their stock and health and prosperity in general. The Apokries start at the beginning of the 40-day Easter fasting period and have its peak between Tsiknopempti, the Thursday before Easter lent, and the Sunday. Tsiknopempti is the day to cook foods and let them char or burn so that the smell is carried out through the village. Charcoal pits burn bright on this day as most homes have barbecues family members visit each other. It is also a night filled with laughter and practical jokes. In different parts of Greece celebrations start a month before Easter but in all regions the climax of these celebrations is on the Sunday before the Clean Monday – the first day of the lent.

 

Fanos (in singular, Fanoi in plural) is the word Greek people use to name a big bonfire which is made within the spring carnivals celebrating Easter and the beginning of the fasting period of 40 days. A typical custom from the family of the spring Easter celebrations, Fanos has its origins in the ancient worshiping of Dionysus. A big fire on top of an altar - clearly a phallic symbol for fertility – is set  in the middle of the main square and is left to burn during the whole night. People dance, sing and drink around it. Groups of singers take turns performing traditional Fanoi songs. Some of the bravest people jump over the flames, others mask and disguise.

 

 

 

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