Today is Monday, Clean Monday (Kathara Defteri in Greek), two days before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. Today, sitting in a beach cafe in warm gentle weather, watching the Greek tradition of flying kites, and there are many, we think of the day before, Sunday the first of March and the Carnival.
And what a carnival it was. Probably the best Carnival on Crete. I must have taken a hundred pictures, but today I tell the story.
It starts with the first float, just drfting by . . .
But just before it came, I took this quick snap of some of the audience, just to get the feel of the carnival – which is huge – but the watchers are just a part of the celebration and they dress up in local village clothes or even spiderman look-alikes to be a part of it too.
So then it began, the old Amstel wagon followed by the incredible ra-ra dancers . . .
Then, of course, the transvestites, or at least the men dressed as women, that for fun stole the policeman’s caps. They seemed to enjoy the moment though.
Of the many floats and hundreds of people that went by, I loved this float. The frog even seemed to breathe, superb.
Again one of the many fine floats. This was a fish consuming a man. Think what you will.
But this was fun, especially with a girl at the front drinking fresh milk.
And so it goes on, not just the floats but the thousands of people having fun. The costumes are really great.
As each float goes by it is accompanied by several hundred of the wonderfully costumed members of the carnival/float club. Each float in the carnival has so many members who work hard each year to produce the float, the costumes and the essence of what their float is based upon as well as doing it in the utmost secrecy that it beggars belief.
So many floats, but this one was unique. On the back was a real barbecue with pork souflakis available. (Pork Kebabs for the uneducated . . .)
So who was King of the Carnival? Well it was the one that I liked as well. Our friend the frog. He was elected as the supreme float and pulled down to the beach here on Rethymnon for his fate.
At just after 6.30 pm, as the sky got dark, following a speech from the master of the frog club, the frog was burned. And so, apart from the continuing discos, it was the end of yet another year of work, but enormous fun.