Today is the final Sunday before Lent, which means it's the day of the final Carnival here in Corfu as well as in the rest of Greece. Unfortunately, it's cold and rainy today, which is a bit of a dampener.
The Carnival has its roots in Ancient Greece and in Corfu especially there is a strong Venetian influence from the time of the Venetian occupation. Originally, the carnival developed from the ancient Greek festivals in honour of Dionysios, God of Wine, which took place at the beginning of spring in order to have a good harvest and successful breeding among the animal stock.
Thursday was Tsiknopempti, when everyone eats meat before the forty days of Lent leading up to Easter. In Corfu, we also have what is known as Petegoletsia (The Gossip) which is an old form of street theatre in the Old Town, in which women leaning out of windows overlooking the narrow alleyways exchange gossip about what is going on locally.
In the final carnival (today), King Carnival is 'he who takes on the burden of sins' and is held responsible for whatever bad has happened in the previous year. He is brought to trial and sentenced to death by burning, so that all evil is burnt with him. So, the carnival procession concludes with a bonfire in which King Carnival is burnt, his will is read and music and dancing follow.
Monday is what is called Clean Monday , which is the beginning of Lent. You can find recipes for some traditional dishes that are eaten on Clean Monday here.
Images: Terra Kerkyra