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The Rethymno Carnival takes place every year between late February and early April. It is undoubtedly Crete’s largest, and by far the most important time of year for citizens of Rethymno and the city itself. One of the most picturesque corners of Crete invites locals and visitors to join the colorful festival which has been celebrated for over 100 years. During the Carnival period, thousands of revelers fill the streets of the city, wearing colorful suits which are inspired from multiple themes.
The carnival is accompanied by several cultural events, open air parties, concerts, children’s workshops, traditional dances and several other happenings. Although the carnival lasts for about three weeks, the most important events take place in the last days. On Friday, two days before the Great Carnival Parade, you can get a taste of what it will be like, as the parade goes through the streets of the town at night. The rich program allows you to choose among several events but the two top events during the calendar of the Rethymnian Carnival, are the legendary Treasure Hunt and the Grand Parade which takes place on the last Sunday before Lent.
The celebrations add humor, music, joy and color to the streets of the city and let people see the bright side of life. On the day of the Grand Parade the whole of Rethymno explodes with music, costumes and mayhem. A procession consisting of beautifully ornate floats, extravagant costumes and masks, makes its way through the town. The Great Parade closes the celebrations but several parties go on all night until "Clean Monday" morning. Featuring renaissance color and Venetian aroma, the Carnival in Rethymnon give to the city the elegance and romance of a bygone era. The Rethymno Carnival is a fantastic time to visit this beautifully old and quaint Cretan town. Put on your fancy costume and mask and you will have an unforgettable carnival experience.