Carnival wedding in Germas village

A fake wedding with music, wine and all
Photography / Text: George Tatakis

While staying in my hotel in Kastoria, I had no clue of the customs taking place in the surrounding villages. The main idea was to spend a few days in this beautiful town and then go to Drama during the Epiphany to make images of the Pagan customs that take place over there. My last stop was Argos Orestikon to experience the New Year festivities, so Kastoria was the nearest town with sufficient lodging. 

Chatting with the hotel owner however, revealed that there were more things to see in the villages around Kastoria. He was the one to tell me about the Klisoura carnival as well. This guy was born and raised in the nearby village of Germas. Thus, he mentioned that another peculiar event takes place over there. Every January 2, a fake, carnival wedding takes place. There is of course, dancing and drinking involved, as well as music played by brass instruments.  

Every January 2, a fake, carnival wedding takes place Germas village. There is of course, dancing and drinking involved

Germas is a 30 minute drive from Kastoria and the road is quite easy, following valleys between mountains. It was easy to find where the event takes place, because there is only one square in the village, where three huge trees, a big church and a cafe live. Obvious, right?

I was as always a little bit earlier, the wedding was due at around 13:00 - 14:00, So I had some time to hang around, see the village and the cafe with the locals. 

After a while musicians came by to prepare for the event. At some point someone came over and said, "Hey photographer! The bride is coming!". I went out and saw The groom carrying his bride-to-be on a donkey and, alas! the bride was a man too, a bearded one for all that matters. It is very much accustomed in most Greek traditions with ancient roots, that all actors are men. So even the female parts are always performed by men. 

At some point someone came over and said, "Hey photographer! The bride is coming!"

The instruments had already started playing and at soon as the bride and groom arrived, they went inside the cafe. A fake wedding takes place with priest and all at the square, but I didn't stay for this part outside, as I was more fascinated on what was taking place inside the cafe. In Greece we are not too used in attending festivals with Balkan rhythms like Bregovic and so on so that was a very pleasant surprise for me. I really enjoyed the fun inside the cafe and all the dancing and drinking. 

Most of the men were dancing solo with the rest cheering and clapping to the rhythm around them. There was a lot of shot drinking and tipping the musicians.

After the fake wedding was finished outdoors, the party moved to the central square where everyone danced in a big circle, bride at the front, to traditional Greek music. A lot of free wine was available for everyone.

It was like a real wedding!

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Carnival wedding in Germas village

Unnamed Road Germas
Ionas Dragoumis, Western Macedonia, Greece