The city of Limassol which is famously known for its all year round entertainment, traditionally celebrates cultural and religious matters in the form of festivals, for the enjoyment of the locals and tourists.
The people of Limassol and the rest of southern Cyprus enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Main Roads, shopping areas and houses are draped with many festive lights and Christmas decorations. However, it can be a little difficult to get into the wintery Christmas spirit as the weather building up to the 25th of December is usually quite pleasant with lots of sunshine.
Special Christmas events such as concerts and festive plays are held throughout Limassol in public places. Especially on the weekend before Christmas, the main shopping strip of Anexartisias is closed off so people can walk freely catching up on their shopping, whilst enjoying dance and musical concerts performed by local school children.
Most people fast before Christmas day so they can appreciate a great meat feast on the 25th. Whilst some prepare a stuffed Turkey, most Cypriots prefer to enjoy a traditional "Souvla" (barbeque).
Carnival: Easter, the most important festival in the Greek Orthodox Religion
This is the greatest and one of the most popular events, that is held between February and March of every year, depending on when Easter falls on the Greek Orthodox calendar.
The ‘Apokreo’ festival starts two weeks before the 50 day Greek Orthodox Lenten period. The first week is called ‘Kreatini’ (Meat Week) as it is the last week people are allowed to eat meat before Easter. The second week is known as the ‘Tyrini’ (Cheese Week), when dairy products are allowed to be eaten. The festivities begin on the Thursday of the Meat Week, and the day is known as ‘Tsiknopefti’.
It starts with the entrance parade of the King Carnival being followed by local people combined in fancy-dress . The Cheese Week is the highlight of the carnival, this is when the ‘Grand Carnival Parade’ takes place and this is on the last Sunday of the Carnival Festivities, before Green Monday - the first day of lent.
A great number of people from all over the island including tourists, gather to watch the floats with the serenade and other masqueraded groups which last up to ten days. Many hotels in the city organise fancy-dress balls and parties during this period.
This festival takes place near the coast of Limassol, as the word ‘Kataklysmos’ means flood and therefore is associated with the sea. It is said that the Kataklysmos festival originates from ancient ceremonies in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis.
The festival takes place 50 days after Easter, in June and is celebrated with lots of water games; for example it is a tradition to throw sea, river or lake-water at one another. Furthermore, other dancing and song contests take place and popular songs known as ‘chatista’ are performed by different groups.
Limassol has a history of wine making in Cyprus dating back to thousands of years. The famous festival takes place every year in September in the Municipal Garden of Limassol on the coastal road.
Today’s wine festival is the equivalent of the celebrations which took place in ancient times, dedicated to the God of Wine, Dionysus. The first wine festival began in 1961 offering tourists and locals a variety of Cypriot wines in an enjoyable entertaining atmosphere.
There is usually a low entry fee for the festival, which includes a bottle of Cypriot wine. Tourists can also enjoy the local cuisine at low prices accompanied with folk dancing and music.
The city of Limassol introduced the first beer festival in July 2003. This is a three day dance festival by the sea in the heart of the city centre. Visitors can enjoy a variety of Cypriot beers and imported beers such as KEO, Heineken, Amstel and Becks.
The entrance to the festival is free of charge and beers are sold at low prices, complemented by a mix of international music.
This is a yearly charity event held in June, mostly organised by the Society for Chest Diseases at the ancient theatre of Kourion. The festival offers great Shakespearean nights which tourists can enjoy and appreciate, by taking in the great historical atmosphere presented by Kourion’s fascinating amphitheatre.