Tyrnavos Carnival

Photo: © Τυρναβίτικο Καρναβάλι - Μπουρανί - Facebook Team

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Tyrnavos Carnival

The Carnival of Tirnavos dates back to antiquity and is related to Dionysian rituals, however the modern version is at least 100 years old. For more than a century, the Carnival in Tyrvanos has involved locals parading phallic objects through the town. Be prepared to be “inundated” by all sorts of phalluses – large or small, minimal or ornate, proud or modest - made of wood or clay. The carnival brings to fore the erect phallus not as a sign of sexuality but as a symbol of fertility, reproduction and prosperity.

In recent years, the Carnival of Tyrnavos is renowned as the biggest of all carnivals in Central Greece. During the celebration period, several cultural events take place, including theatrical performances along with music and dance events. The peak of the carnival festivities takes place the last Sunday before Clean Monday, with the Grand Parade of the floats. The parade also involves groups of people in fancy costumes who dance in the streets of the small town until dawn. The carnival closes with the burning of King Carnival and a firework show.

Customs and traditions are an integral part of the history of the local society. The custom of “Burani on Clean Monday is one of the customs that have made Tyrnavos famous. Clean Monday here is a day which the rules of decent behavior are temporarily violated. Taboos and prohibitions are set aside too. That day, the citizens of the town go to the country church of Prophet Elias, in the north of the town. At the head of the procession, there are groups of men only, who carry all the necessary supplies. When they arrive, they light fires and spread a table with various dishes on the ground. At the same time, they start to prepare the Bourani, a spinach-based soup, to which they add vinegar so as to give it flavor. While the bourani is being prepared, everyone drinks tsipouro, ouzo or local wine, and sing songs with obscene lyrics as they tease each other with lewd or profane remarks. Only men have the right to participate in this ritual. Women and children can attend, but are not allowed to participate, perhaps for reasons of prudery because of the phallic symbols. After the “bourani” has been cooked, everybody goes to the banks of Titarisios River where they continue their obscene jokes and songs. 

Tyrnavos is a town in central Greece, which by way produces some of the country’s finest “tsipouro”. It is located 20 km from Larissa and it is easy to reach it by car or bus.

Photo: Τυρναβίτικο Καρναβάλι - Μπουρανί - Facebook Team