New Year's Eve in Argos Orestikon

Very different New Year celebration with groups of brass instrument players, playing and dancing around the town
Photography / Text: George Tatakis

I had been staying in Kastoria around New Year's Eve and the weather was really fit for Christmas. It was rather cold and some snow had made its appearance around. In Kastoria downtown a big Christmas tree made out of bulbs was in place which made the city look very cozy.

In Argos Orestikon they celebrate New Year's Eve with a crazy carnival on the streets around the town. 

I had heard about a nice way of celebrating the New Year in the nearby town of Argos Orestikon. This is a feast that did strike me as odd and at the same time was a very pleasant surprise. In Argos Orestikon they celebrate New Year's Eve with a crazy carnival on the streets around the town. 

There is an interesting story that happened in Northern Greece, after its independence from the Turkish rule. Turkish people, interested in the European culture, had started forming bands with orchestral instruments, mainly brass ones. After the Greek revolution the Turkish people fled the country and of course left these instruments behind. After some time, Greek people were opening warehouses and kept on finding brass instruments inside. 

Therefore, they started playing and taking ideas from neighbouring countries they developed an ear for Balkan music. Even nowadays people in Northern Greece like to play and dance to this kind of music. That's what they do during the festival for the New Year in Argos Orestikon. 

People are wearing carnival costumes and small groups with brass instruments are forming around the streets, playing and dancing to Balkan music. 

Small groups with brass instruments are playing and dancing to Balkan music around the streets. 

When midnight is near, everyone is gathering around the central square and dancing altogether. During midnight there are fireworks and whatnot and everyone hanging and kissing. It was probably one of the most interesting New Year Eves I had. I am quite fond to the Balkan music so it made my night very beautiful.

It was probably one of the most interesting New Year Eves I had

Because the night is quite chilly, everyone goes inside the nearby bars and continue to dance till the morning. One word of caution in this part. People do smoke a lot even inside and because these bars are not designed to be that crowded, it gets rather foggy inside. Non smokers will not feel too happy inside. You can keep up the fun outdoors however!

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Location

New Year's Eve in Argos Orestikon

29 Santalidi
Argos Orestiko, Western Macedonia, Greece