Rethymnon Carnival is 100 years old
The Rethymnon Carnival is a century old. The first humorous events were recorded in 1914. An old-time carnival, with romantic dancing and the ceremonial crowning of “His Royal Highness the Carnival King, in the revelry of irrepressible laughter!”
In the early 1990s, the carnival tradition of the treasure hunt led to the formation of the “teams”. In 1993, Mayor Dimitris Archondakis invited the teams to take over the Carnival, making the Rethymnon Carnival a Carnival of Crete.
Rethymnon Carnival today
Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee
The start of Carnival is announced, the Town Hall is lit up, hundreds of fireworks burst over the town, confetti, balloons, music.
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
The Rethymnon Treasure Hunt is different, its clever clues intriguing the whole town. The preparation of about 70 teams and 5,000 treasure hunters lasts all year. As the great day approaches, the libraries are filled with fanatical treasure hunters who know the town inside out and are interested in local history and tradition. They have great fun sharpening their minds on the fiendish riddles and obstacles the organising team has prepared for them. The hunt is organised by last year’s winning team. So far there have been 11 winners: “Delikans”, “Argoscholoi”, “Gauls”, “Rebeskedes”, “Alloi”, “Boubounes”, “Nata Kefata”, “Anichneutes”, “Ekats’ i Koutsi Katsika”, “Alter Ego” and “Arkaloi”.
The posters are designed for free by well-known cartoonists, fans of the Rethymnon Treasure Hunt, including Arkas, Dimitris (Chantzopoulos), Stathis, Kalaitzis and, this year, Spyros Ornerakis.
The teams’ theatrical sketches prepare the way for the themes they’ll be presenting on the last Sunday. A fantastic show full of fun and great ideas!
The day before the Grand Parade, the central road through town will become a huge dance floor. It’s the evening of the Night Parade, ending a few hours before the start of the Grand Parade with its teams and floats.
Every evening the teams invite people to their parties (there are over 15 parties on this year’s programme) and on Tsiknopempti (Carnival Thursday) thousands of people are invited to dress up and take part in a huge festival in the Old Town.
The Grand Parade in the streets of Rethymnon
Every year various burlesque folk customs are revived in Armeni, Gerani, Melidoni and Meronas: the “moutzouromata” (“Smudging”) when revellers go round smudging people with soot, the “Tsagaris” (“Shoemaker”), the “Tambis” and the “Abduction of the Bride”