Limassol (Lemesos) is well known for its year-round street parties, traditional cultural celebrations, significant events and religious festivals. Locals celebrate many festivals like Kataklysmos, Amathusia Festival, Wine Festival with joy and enthusiasm.
This is the greatest and one of the most popular events held between February and March 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 eaten. The festivities begin on the Thursday of Meat Week, and the day is known as 'Tsiknopefti'.
The carnival parade takes place on the last Sunday of Cheese Week. It starts with the entrance parade of the King Carnival, followed by local people dressed in fancy costumes. "Green Monday," sometimes called "Clean Monday", follows the two weeks of Carnival festivities and is the first day of Lent, a national holiday in Cyprus.
People from all over Cyprus, including tourists, gather to watch the floats with the serenade and other masqueraded groups, which last up to ten days. To celebrate the occasion, 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 hosted in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis.
The festival takes place 50 days after Easter and is celebrated with lots of water games; for example, it is a tradition to drench one another in the sea, river or lake water. Furthermore, dancing and song contests also take place where popular songs known as 'chatista' are performed by local music groups.
Amathusia festival takes place in July every year. The Agios Tychonas Community Board organises this festival. It includes performances by Cypriot contemporary dance groups, top string quartets and Greek and Cypriot singers of both traditional and modern styles.
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 and Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. The first festival began in 1961, offering tourists and locals a variety of Cypriot wines in an enjoyable and entertaining atmosphere. Visitors can also enjoy the local cuisine, wines at low prices accompanied by folk dancing and music.
The city of Limassol introduced the first beer festival in July 2003. This three-day festival is held at the Molos Waterfront with a variety of Cypriot beer, 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, organised by the Society for Chest Diseases at the ancient theatre of Kourion. The festival organises Shakespearean nights, which can be enjoyed and appreciated.
The people of Limassol and Cyprus celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Roads, shopping areas, and houses are draped with festive lights and decorations. Special Christmas events such as concerts and festive plays are held throughout Limassol in public places. On the weekend before Christmas, the main shopping street of Anexartisias is closed so that people can walk freely, catching up on their shopping whilst enjoying dance and musical concerts performed by locals.
Some people fast before Christmas day so that they can appreciate a meat feast on the 25th December. Whilst some prepare a stuffed Turkey, most Cypriots prefer to enjoy a traditional "Souvla" (barbeque).