The city of Limassol (Lemesos) is also well known for its year round street parties, traditional cultural celebrations and religious festivals. These festivals are put on to celebrate important dates in the Cypriot calendar as well as for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike.
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'.
The Grand 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 as "Clean Monday" follows the two weeks of Carnival festivities and is also the first day of Lent, which is a national holiday in Cyprus.
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. To celebrate the occasion, many hotels in the city organize 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, in June and is celebrated with lots of water games; for example it is a tradition to drench one another with 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 and 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 to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. The first wine festival began in 1961 offering tourists and locals a variety of Cypriot wines in an enjoyable and entertaining atmosphere. There is usually a minimal 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 held at the Molos Waterfront. 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.