Carnival on Skopelos

Christos Akrivopoulos

On Skopelos carnival is very vivid and colourful and the celebrations are a big joyful event. Its main characteristic is the distinctive local colour and the people's intention to keep the tradition alive. The spirit of the Skopelos Carnival like most of festivities throughout Greece, can be traced back in antiquity. The celebrations usually begin on Tsiknopempti (Thursday) and last for 12 days. On Tsiknopempti, groups of people old and young, dressed in funny dresses or carnival costumes hang around the village teasing other people, visit the island houses and end up in taverns until dawn. During the whole carnival period, there is a spirit of joy, with lots of dances, food and drinking, parties, parades, people in fancy carnival costumes etc.



The event of "Trata" is a performance on maritime life. This is an old custom and it is exclusively organized by groups of men or young boys. In the morning of first Sunday, various groups of participants gather together in the courtyard of the farmer's Co-operative or in other places and make boats, called TRATAS. 

Most of the performers paint themselves black or they have masks on their faces, they wear bells and dress up in anything funny they find suitable for the occasion. At midday, when the boats are ready they make their appearance. 

They go around the village streets and squares creating a lot of noise, speaking and behaving in a provocative way, participate in dances, sing songs, tell dirty jokes and making in rhyming verse of situations and events depicting the life of the local society. By the afternoon they end up in the harbour side and sink the boats into the sea.



Every year, on the last Sunday of Carnival, the main celebration is the "Vlach's Wedding". This is an old custom and it is mostly organized by groups of women. The event begins in the morning and lasts until evening. 

The participants are masquerade parties, people wearing local costumes, ballet groups and a music band which parade in the the streets of the island. They stop in the squares and dance in double and triple circles, while they are treated to the traditional sweets and wine, offered by the local women.

The spectacle is unique because of the beautiful local costumes, the colourful wedding parade and the accompanying traditional folk music. 



On Ash Monday (which is the last day of the Carnival) groups of people gather together in the country side cottages or by the sea side; they eat traditional local delicacies, halva and sea food -octopus, sea-urchins, mussels, oysters, clams; they drink wine, dance and sing. This is when the kite-flying takes place.