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Island Social Life

Photos > Island Social Life > Carnival parade, Livathi, March 2003

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by John Stathatos on 01.12.2003

Carnival parade, Livathi, March 2003

Carnival parade, Livathi, March 2003
Copyright (2003) John Stathatos

John Stathatos: Carnival parade, Livathi, March 2003. Digital photograph.
Carnival parades are an old tradition on the island, though the venues fluctuate. In 2003, there were separate parades, in Potamos and in Livathi. The result of considerable hard work by volunteers, the parades consist of home-made floats and marching groups in often elaborately themed costumes, and are attended by what seems like the entire population of the island. In many cases there is a strong satirical flavour; on this occasion, one of the floats represented a local government meeting, complete with mock speeches parodying the style and concerns of the original councillors. Rhymed poems satirising local worthies and issues are also declaimed. The parades are examples of a social custom which has retained its vitality into the 21st century; spontaneous products of local demand, they owe nothing to antiquarianism or the tourism industry.
One of the floats included a transvestite “beauty contest”. Interestingly, cross-dressing and a deliberate confusion of social identities have been a crucial and popular element of such popular festivities from earliest antiquity.

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