with the coming of easter, it is carnival season in greece, and we went to a carnival parade this past weekend. regarding carnival, wikipedia says:
carnival typically involves a public celebration and/or parade combining some elements of a circus, masks and public street party. people wear masks and costumes during many such celebrations, allowing them to lose their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods proscribed during lent is extremely common. other common features of carnival include mock battles such as food fights; social satire and mockery of authorities; the grotesque body displaying exaggerated features especially large noses, bellies, mouths, and phalli or elements of animal bodies; abusive language and degrading acts; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms.
as it happened, while there was some consumption of alcohol, the parade was carefree and family-friendly, with some impressive costumes (including a woman dressed as a contortionist on a table, complete with portable tabletop). we were accompanied through the streets by various troupes of musicians, including a brazilian percussion combo and a team of people playing hand drums; and then, about halfway through the event, the paraders piled into a courtyard where we were met by an even larger brazilian drum club and an accompanying dance troupe – a total surprise, and absolutely thrilling.