February of Fun and Love

So February is here!!

The month with romantic day of Valentines'. Thought here in Greece we don't look forward for February only for Valentines' Day but for all the rest that comes with it. This year, the second month brings us more reasons to travel and have fun. You see while we have the annual sales in Thessaloniki, we also have the carnival season.

So while we are organising romantic breaks for those who are in love, Bansko weekend or a trip to Paris, we have daily trips for those who aren't in love and they maybe want to find someone to love.  So on the 15th of February we are having an one day excursion from Thessaloniki to Volos and his beautiful tavernas. A relaxed brake in an ideal place for making new acquaintances and have fun. Of course this excursion is not limited to only singles but for all those who want to have fun. So if you are visiting Thessaloniki for the weekend you should definitely join us in our visit the beautiful harbour of  Volos.

Now how well do you know our customs? Do you know our custom named Tsiknopempti? This year our annual rite of Tsiknopempti will take place on the Thurdsay (Pempti) of the 12 of February.  This day is a day of meat eating before lent and fasting begin on Monday. The word derives from the word "tsikna" (the smell of the barbecue - burnt grilled meat) and "Pempti" (Thursday in Greek). I believe that something similar to our Tsiknopempti is the Mardi Grass, only set on a different day.

There are two ways to have fun that day, depending the weather of course, you either get suited up in the most ridiculous costume you can make or find, take few goods friends and walk through the streets of the city, where from early evening there will be alcohol and barbecues everywhere. The youngsters of  Thessaloniki usually pass their evening and their night moving from bar to bar and have fun with other costumed strangers. The second way to have fun is to go to taverna or restaurant and have a Maske party with your family, friends etc. Our office on that occasion will organise a small outing in a local restaurant with live music and plenty of alcohol. So our guests will not have to worry for drinking and drive and will be more relaxed. Are you interesting to join us? I will advise you later for the price, but don't worry it will not be that high.

The Sunday of the 22nd of February this years is the last day of the Carnival, of course you know what that means, parties and parades in every part of our country. Of course the King of the parades is in Patra in Peloponisos but here in Northern Greece we have our own way of celebrating the carnivals and we also had one really big parade, that of Xanthi. Xanthi is a city located in the north east of Greece a quite picturesque city mostly influenced by the Turkish conquerors and of of the biggest cities of the Modern Trace (the ancient land who gave us Spartacus) . As you understand. We will also visit that day for an one day excursion the Carnival of Xanthi!!! Of course we are organising One day excursion from Thessaloniki on that Day to other destinations as well. So if you are visiting the weekend of the carnival you can join us to our trip to the big carnival parade of Xanthi, to the smaller and more traditional of Kozani and to the even smaller parade of Poligirios in Chalkidiki.

Well the fan doesn't stop there you know. You see the Monday of the 23rd of February is a bank holiday. In "Kathara Deftera" rite (I think the best translation is Clean Monday/Ash Monday) we pass our day in the countryside eating non dairy or meat products, as it is the first day of the Greek Orthodox Christian Great Lent. It is a moveable feast that occurs in the beginning of the 7th week before Easter Sunday.  So we also have plans on that day as well...On  23rd of February we are organising one day trip from Thessaloniki to Tyrnavos city where the "Mpourani" ritual takes place...So know I just need to explain what is "Mpourani"... Oh this is going to be rather embarrassing... So are you aware of the Kanamara Matsuri of Japan, yeah, that weird phallic festival...well...you know enough to start. "Mpourani" or "Bourani" is all about that. It's a festival where you celebrate the coming of spring and life with a rather spicy way. People of  Tyrnavos and tourists, will gather and sing songs (in Greek) around the subject of sexes, of reproductions and other naught subjects. So if you like to join us in this bucolic ritual you better be prepared for some quite embarrassing moments. But be open minded cause this ritual derives from the pagan times of Ancient Greece and the festivities made in the name of Dionyssos God. See there is also an educational character of the ritual...I will not post picture for obious reasons but if you Google Μπουράνι you will few details.

So if you are planing to visit Greece the following dates, find a parade close to you and have fun.
Maybe you should pack a costume and suit up!!