Skyros Carnival: Exploring Greece’s Noisiest Fiesta

A man dressed up in a costume for Skyros Carnival celebrations
A man dressed up in a costume for Skyros Carnival celebrations
A person dressed as a “yeros” during Skyros Carnival celebrations. Photograph by Dick Blau.

“Skyros Carnival” is a fascinating 85-page multimedia publication that offers a sophisticated report of one of the wildest ritual events in Greece. The book features an ethnographic essay by Agapi Amanatidis and Panayotis Panopoulos, 60 photographs by Dick Blau, and a CD and DVD by Steven Feld.

The Skyrian carnival is a visual spectacle of costumes, dramas, and performances held for at least 100 years on the Greek island of Skyros. Agapi and Panayotis explain on the book’s essay: “Carnival is a compelling affair. It has been celebrated unfailingly – but not unchangingly – for at least a century and continues to hold a central place in the island’s social life. On Skyros, carnival (the Apokries) comes as a burst of life that propels us out of the dormancy of winter and into the rites of spring.”

Man dressed up in a costume and playing a musical instrument for Skyros Carnival celebrations.
Photograph by Dick Blau for the “Skyros Carnival” book.

The book discloses a new world for conversation through a bold presentation of powerful still and moving images, texts, and sound compositions about Greece’s gaudy local ritual.

“First, there is the yeros, a part shepherd – part goat figure strung with bells,” the authors of “Skyros Carnival” say introducing the Greek fiesta’s main protagonist. “The yeros is accompanied by the korela, a female figure who is dressed in an assortment of folk bridal and shepherd garments. Finally, there is the frangos, who cuts an outrageous figure with his bizarre appearance.”

“The yeros, korela and frangos figures are the main attraction for onlookers, who gaze in awe at or wish to become part of the carnival parade that moves up and down the main street of Skyros.”

A person dressed in women clothes for Skyros Carnival celebrations
A “korela” figure during Skyros Carnival celebrations. Photograph by Dick Blau.
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