The Boules Carnival Tradition

Photo: © Αποκριά στη Νάουσα - Facebook Team

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The Boules Carnival Tradition

The carnival season in Naoussa in Northern Greece, is a fun celebration which centers on the “Genitsari and Boules”, one of the most popular customs in Greece. This custom is definitely among the oldest Greek customs and has remained unchanged for centuries. It revives in the streets of the little town, at the beginning of Greek Lent and is one of the most striking local customs. Although, it is hard to find its roots, it certainly has been influenced by the years of Turkish rule and is related with the ancient Greek god Dionysus and the fertility.

On the carnival’s Sunday, unmarried young men (Genitsari) dress in traditional costumes with lots of silverware hanging from their chests, and cover their faces with handmade wax masks. The role of the “Boules” is also portrayed by young men, dressed as traditional brides. All together start to gather teams, the so-called “bouloukia”. With the mayor’s allowance as the custom suggests, they dance on the city’s streets and alleys, accompanied by the music of zurnas and daouli, two of the traditional musical instruments of the area. At Alonia, the masks are removed, and the identity of the revelers is revealed. The custom is completed in the city’s central square where dancers, locals and visitors become one. The custom lasts for several hours and the festive mood does not come to an end until early morning. The Boules Carnival Tradition is a unique experience for both participants and visitors.

Photo: Αποκριά στη Νάουσα - Facebook Team