Tripoli, Greece Festivals

by Rebekah Worsham
The Mar Carnival features an array of traditional Greek foods and beverages.

The Mar Carnival features an array of traditional Greek foods and beverages.

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Tripoli, an exotic city located in the central portion of the Peloponnese, is home to the Mar Carnival, which draws thousands of visitors to the city each year. The festival, which is a nationwide celebration, is celebrated in the spring as a means of celebrating the Easter holiday and Greek traditions.

Food

Throughout the streets of downtown Tripoli, local food vendors offer a wide array of traditional Greek foods and drink. Greek foods that are traditionally offered include spit-roasted lamb, beef and chicken in addition to gyros, which are a staple in Greek cuisine. Fresh salads are also common, as are eggs, which have been died red in honor of the Easter holiday. Wine is usually abundant, as are a variety of rich Greek puddings and desserts.

Music and Entertainment

As a national holiday, the Mar Carnival is recognized as a time for great celebration. The event typically features live musical artists and street performers in addition to a procession of carnival chariots with local celebrities and high-profile people within the community. A parade is also included in the festivities. Party-goers dress in fancy attire and parade through the streets of downtown wearing masks that are symbolic of Greek heroes and tradition.

Pageantry

Pageantry is another high-profile event that is traditionally included in the Mar Carnival. Women from throughout the region compete for various titles and are judged based on beauty, poise and talent. Children's pageants are also included, and each child is encouraged to perform special talents before the crowd. Pageants are typically judged by celebrities or those of great importance within the community, and winning is considered a great honor in the Greek custom.

Customs

In addition to food and live entertainment, the Mar Carnival is filled with traditions that are unique to Greek culture. For example, designated pranksters are present throughout the crowd. No one knows who is a potential prankster, and everyone must be on the lookout to avoid being the victim of a practical joke. All tricks are good-natured, and being chosen as a target is somewhat of an honor in the tradition of the festival.

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