The beginning of the great feast which will last 15 days and will culminate with the spectacular carnival parade, was given on Sunday morning in the central square of Xanthi, under the emblematic clock of the city.

The official start of this year’s Thracian Folk Festivals was scheduled for the morning of Saturday, March 2, however the bad weather conditions prevailing in the region led to their postponement.

Xanthi, the city of a thousand colors, faithful to the annual rendezvous for more than half a century, prepares to celebrate, entertain, splurge, bring back memories, revive customs and traditions, but above all to remind everyone that the Thracian Folk Festivals (THLE) are more than the famous carnival of northern Greece. It is an important cultural institution, a great artistic event, a participatory celebration, which both the people of Xanthi and the residents of the neighboring regions of Thrace and eastern Macedonia await all year round.

The Thracian Folk Festivals or otherwise Xanthiotiko Carnival it is the joint effort of all the residents of Xanthi to highlight what unites them. It is their common goal for which they work as a team throughout the year, it is this spirit of cooperation that distinguishes them so that the end result is worthy of the efforts they put in. Full of appetite, mood and inexhaustible imagination, they will join forces to show everyone the greatness of Thracian Culture.

All this was seen from the very first day of the events, in the square of Xanthi filled with people of all ages, where the cultural clubs of the city presented dances and songs. The same festive mood prevailed on Sunday evening, in the open feast organized for the whole world by folklore and carnival associations, despite the heavy rain that prevailed during the celebration.

The theme of this year’s organization of the THLE and the biggest carnival in northern Greece is inspired by the paraphrase of a well-known proverb: “Here is Xanthi, here is the dancing.”

S. Kontos: “THLE are an integral part of our lives”

As every year, this year the THRLE includes many carnival and folkloric actions as well as a multitude of cultural and artistic events, with the dominant element being the large participation of volunteers, carnival crews and members of cultural associations.

“Like every year, Xanthi turns into a colorful mosaic of culture and through a series of events, culminating in the great carnival parade, invites you to escape from everyday life and surrender to the fun and authentic joy of the celebration”, he emphasizes in the annual the mayor of Xanthi, Stratos Kontos, sent him a message.

“For those of us who grew up in charming Xanthi,” continues Mr. Kontos, “the Thracian Folk Festivals are an integral part of our lives. The memories of the Xanthiotiko Carnival fill us with nostalgia, but also with excitement, for what we are going to experience in the coming days. For those visiting us for the first time, the Xanthi Carnival is a unique opportunity to explore every bit of the rare beauty of our place, combining this multi-day celebration of joy and carefreeness with the opportunity to get to know everything that has turned Xanthi into a point of reference. I assure you that in every corner of our Municipality you will find friends willing to welcome you, show you around and host you in our unique place”.

A large number of carnival goers and visitors are expected

More than 15,000 carnival participants are expected to take part in this year’s carnival parade, which will take place on Sunday, February 17, which will culminate the THLE, who will choose their costumes from among the 33 carnival clubs – crews, which have been established in Xanthi and are preparing every day of the year to have the most impressive appearance. A prerequisite is that carnival club participants do not wear the club’s new outfit to any of the dozens of carnival parties that are organized, earlier than the big carnival parade in every corner of the city.

The organizers’ first estimates of the number of visitors who will come to both Xanthi and neighboring Kavala during the three-day period of the last Sunday of Shrove Tuesday and Clean Monday are particularly optimistic.

Michalis Tsepelis, deputy mayor for Culture of the municipality of Xanthi, in his statements mentioned – among other things – that a total of seven floats will be paraded during the carnival events, all of which will be thematic and their unveiling will take place on the day of the parade. He also emphasized that Xanthi expects around 400,000 visitors throughout the duration of the Carnival, while around 200,000 are expected to be the visitors on the last Sunday of the Carnival.

Popular artists and music groups as well as various local music groups will give their own touch of celebration throughout the event, exciting young and old alike. Visitors will experience unique moments of fun and revelry both in the center of Xanthi and in the neighborhoods at outdoor events that will be set up.

The Thracian Folk Festivals and the great carnival parade will close again this year on the banks of the Kosynthos river with the custom of burning the “Tzaros” in a spectacular atmosphere with dozens of fireworks.