Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival

God Dionysos with Menades, ancient castles filled with ghosts. This is the carnival of Naxos island!
Photography / Text: Antonios Chrysakis

The carnival continues in the Chrora of Naxos where Methidotia and Lampadiforia take place during Friday and Saturday. Both events start from the spectacular castle and end near the temple of Apollo.

The island is full of life, filled with locals and tourists who come to view and participate in the events.

Friday - Methidotia

On Friday God Dionysus had its honour at Chora of Naxos where the celebration of “Methidotia” takes place. I arrived earlier at the castle to meet the participants and photograph them. The music of the event is enthusiastic and wild, meeting the two contradictions of life. Men are dressed as satyrs, women as menads and they represent scenes from the life of Dionysus and his followers.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

As we descend from the castle to the port of Naxos, satyrs are teasing the observers and are dancing with the menands. God Dionysus on his chariot drinks wine and orders his faithful minions to stir up the island.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

The music of the event is enthusiastic and wild, meeting the two contradictions of life.

The God got angry transformed all of them into dolphins and destroyed their ships.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

The parade ends near the port where a big stage has been set. The carnivalists perform a revival of the myth of the abduction of God Dionysus by pirates. According to the myth, Etrurian pirates came to Naxos and abducted Dionysus, thinking that they will get rich. The God got angry transformed all of them into dolphins and destroyed their ships. He then returned to the land where he set a feast with his menands and satyrs.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

Saturday - Lampadiforia (Torch Parade)

Lampadiforia is a relatively modern carnival event, first started in 1994, by young members of the local cinema club. Participants get dressed like "stihia" spirits by painting their faces to resemble black-and-white masks, wearing white sheets and holding torches.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

The parade moves slowly from the castle of Naxos, through the small roads of the old town down to the temple of Apollo. The dark alleys of the historical town along with the lighted torches and the mystical movement of the stihia provide a fascinating spectacle for the visitors.

The torches had turned into bright red fires and the slow movements of the ghosts into wild dance and loud noises

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

As with the previous event the carnivalists met at the old castle to get dressed and paint their faces with the black and white colours. I arrived much earlier than expected and found some eager kids, playing by the tall walls of the castle, already dressed up and waiting impatiently for the parade to begin.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

As we descended towards the port the soft lights of the torches had turned into bright red fires and the slow movements of the ghosts into wild dance and loud noises. The parade stopped near the temple of Apollo.

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival - Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis
Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival
Greece. South Aegean. Naxos. © Antonios Chrysakis

The Naxos carnival week continues here with the event of Koudounatoi

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Location

Methidotia and Lampadiforia at Naxos carnival

Castle Of Naxos (Kastro)
Naxos, South Aegean, Greece

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