Cyprus Annual Events & Festivals
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The 3,600 square mile island is blessed with sandy beaches, forested mountain interiors carpeted with flowers in the spring, quiet rural villages and a stylish capital – Nicosia. Seaside resorts ring the island from Ayia Napa in the east to Larnaka and Limassol in the south, and Paphos in the east.
The Limassol Carnival is an essential institution and great tradition for the citizens of Limassol. The festival lasts for ten (10) days, filled with festive, amusing masquerading. More about Carnival on Cyprus
“Anthestiria” – Flower Festival (May)
This festival takes place in May. “Anthestiria” were organised in Athens in honour of the God Dionysus, the divine protector of the theatre. They were also the festival of souls and plants celebrating the rebirth of man and nature. Nature beauty is celebrated during the flower festival. Nature’s beauty is celebrated in Limassol, with flower parades and exhibitions of plants and flowers.
“Kataklysmos” – Festival of the Flood (June) Limassol
Kataklysmos is a festival which takes place near the sea shore of Limassol, on the Sunday of the Pentecost and the Monday of the Holy Spirit. It is unique in its kind and has a paganistic character.
We don’t know for certain what the origins of this festival were. A lot of people believe that kataklysmos originated from the ancient ceremonies in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis. The custom of throwing sea, river or lake-water at one another has prevailed both in areas near the sea and inland of Limassol.
On Sunday and Monday, a variety of dance and song competitions take place. Popular songs known as “chatista” are sung by different singing groups which complete each other.
Shakespearean nights (June)
The Shakespeare festival is a charity event annually organized by the Society for Chest Diseases at the ancient theatre of Curium.
There, Shakespeare’s plays are staged, in a fascinating environment in the open air theatre of Curium. The performances attract large audiences from Cyprus and abroad.
Anthestiria – Flower Festival (May)
The flower festival, which takes place during May, is a celebration of nature’s beauty during spring, anthestiria derives from the Greek word anthos meaning flower. The origin of the Anthestiria goes back to ancient times, when festivals were organised in honour of god Dionysus, the divine protector of the theatre.
Kataklysmos – Festival of the flood (June) Limassol
Forty days after Easter, Limassol bursts into action celebrating the Kataklysmos, splashing each other with water, which is said to symbolise the purification of the body and soul. According to Greek mythology the celebrations are in honour of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, who it’s said was born at Petra tou Romiou, a series of rock formations off the south coast of Cyprus. The annual festival takes place near the sea shore of Limassol during June and adults and kids alike will find it very fun.
The Wine Festival (September) Limmasol
During the first quarter of September, the great Wine Festival of Cyprus takes place in the Municipal Garden of Limassol, every evening between 8.00 hrs – 23.00 hrs. During the festival the visitor has the chance to taste some of the best Cyprus wines, which are offered free of charge. On some evenings, various groups from Cyprus and abroad perform folk dancing and there are also choirs and others.
Ancient Greek Drama Festival (July – August) Limassol.
This cultural event is organized by the Cyprus Tourism Organization and the Cyprus Theatre Organization. Performances of ancient dramas and comedies are presented in Greek and are held in the ancient Theatre of Citrium, 19 km west of Limassol.
Limassol Wine Festival (August – September)
In ancient times, Greeks would have spectacular celebrations dedicated to Dionysus, the God of Wine, and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. The Limassol Wine Festival is today’s equivalent to the ancient celebrations dedicated to them. The first wine festival was organised in 1961 offering to Cypriots and visitors a taste of Cypriot wine and a fun, comfortable atmosphere. Some 15,000 visitors come each year to taste, free of charge, an assortment of wines, to enjoy the warm atmosphere, feast on delicious local dishes and be entertained by local dancers, songs and plays.
The festival has been an annual event since then, offering free wine, Cypriot food, traditional music and dancing, attracting thousands of Cypriots and visitors alike. The host City, Lemesos (Limassol) is also the center of the biggest grape-producing region of Cyprus and there is much participation by wineries of KEO, SODAP, LOEL and ETKO.
Since 1962 the emblem of this festival is the giant replica of a Cypriot vine grower in his traditional local costume, and his slogan “Drink wine, it gives you life”.
On the doorstep of Asia only 76 miles Syria, 43 miles from Turkey and 270 miles from Rhodes. Its shape and situation have made it a natural target. Cyprus has been a gateway to the eastern Mediterranean for 10,000 years, ever since it was first settled by Anatolian tribes. Since then, it has been fought over by the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Venetians, the Ottomans and the British. Sailors have long prized its fertility and ability to defend.
The Eteocyprians in their early days had worshipped a goddess of fertility. When the Greeks came this figure was transformed into their goddess of love, Aphrodite. Apollo was also worshipped but Aphrodite became a kind of patron saint of the island with sanctuaries dedicated to her in every corner and her temple in old Paphos became famous throughout Greece. She became associated with Cyprus so much that the legend was born of Paphos as her birthplace, where she first rose from the sea and festivals were held in her honor.
When the Romans came later they continued the worship of Aphrodite under the Roman name of Venus. They rebuilt the temple at Paphos and produced coins of it which circulated round the Mediterranean Cyprus and Aphrodite amalgamated and Cyprus was called the “Island of Aphrodite”.
In 1960 Cyprus became an independent country after many adventures and occupations and was later admitted to the U.N. and became a member of the British Commonwealth and of the Council of Europe.
The complicated constitutional provisions were such that difficulties immediately arose in the functioning of the state.
On December 21, 1963, fighting broke out in Nicosia and later to the rest of the Island between the communities of Greeks and Turks which make up the main population of Cyprus. In August 1964 the Turkish Air Force bombed Greek Cypriot patrol boats and villages in Tylliria and Turkey threatened to invade the Island in defense of the Turkish Cypriots. In July 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied 37% of the extent of Cyprus. update