Apokriés, or Carnival celebrations, mark the period preceding Lent and ending the night before Clean Monday, the beginning of Lent for Eastern Orthodox and Catholics. These costume-and-parade affairs are particularly colorful (and often bawdy) in northern Greece. You are welcome to join in the fun in Thessaloniki and other towns. Sohos, 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Thessaloniki, hosts a festive event in which people cavort in animal hides with sheep bells around their waists and phallic headdresses. In Naoussa, 112 km (70 mi) to the west of Thessaloniki, some participants wear foustanellas (short, pleated white kilts), special masks, and chains of gold coins across their chests, which they shake to "awaken the Earth." The whole town dons costumes and takes to the streets behind brass marching bands, which have a tradition of playing New Orleans–style jazz.
- Location: Thessaloniki