Cyprus, Nicosia

Apokrya: how Cypriots celebrate Shrovetide

Updated: 2 months ago

Apokria is one of the religious holidays, but, as we know, many religious holidays in Cyprus have the status of state holidays.

However, Apokria is not included in this list, but it is widely celebrated by Cypriots. Which is not surprising - after all, this is a true holiday of feasting, where one can indulge before the Great Lent.

Апокрия масленица Кипр

How many days is Apokria celebrated

The holiday lasts for several days - starting from "Smoky Thursday", and ends 10 days later, before the Great Lent. From Thursday to the following Monday, most people prepare meat dishes, and from Monday onwards for a week, they switch to dairy products - mainly cheeses. During this week, meat is not to be eaten according to church rules.

  • In 2024, Apokria (excluding Smoky Thursday) starts on March 11

How is Apokria celebrated in Cyprus

Throughout these days, Cypriots visit each other and enjoy a variety of dishes - first meat dishes, then mainly cheeses. But the main attraction, especially for tourists, is the widespread carnivals.

The essence of the carnival processions culminates on the last day of celebrations, on the Sunday before the Great Lent. Colorful processions with drums and dances take place in all major cities, usually around noon. Then, until 10 pm, everyone simply dances, celebrates, and enjoys life. A colorful fireworks display awaits at the end.

  • In 2024, the final carnival processions will take place on March 17

Frequently Asked Questions about holidays in Cyprus

Where is the most colorful carnival for Shrovetide?

The most famous and largest carnival takes place in Limassol, it is a real celebration with dances and music. Additionally, in Limassol, on the first Sunday of the holiday, a children's carnival takes place a week before the end.

Is Apokria a public holiday?

Despite Cypriots' love for leisure, they cannot afford to not work for all 10 days. So, it is not an official public holiday. However, the main events take place on Sunday, so everyone will be resting during the carnival.

What other holidays are celebrated in Cyprus?

Cypriots celebrate both secular and religious holidays at the state level, but not all - here is a list of official holidays in Cyprus. Additionally, there are numerous holidays, especially local ones, that are widely celebrated without official status.

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