Carnival or Apokries in Greece


No, don’t worry, we haven’t lost our national character or costumes, it’s Carnival or Apokries in Greece, a feast  of fun celebrated all over the country with masquerade and parties.

This festival dates back to Dionyssus, the ancient Greek god of wine and fun and it was meant to worship him  as well as to help the earth put forth shoots-hence the various leaping dances and the various kinds of disguise in order to please harmful spirits. In ancient Greece this festival took place in early spring, today it’s celebrated 40 days before Easter, so we can see that this ceremony has been incorporated into the Christian religion.
The name APOKRIES means “abstention from meat” , because  after that starts the period of Lent that goes on till Easter.
The characteristic of Carnival is disguising and wearing masks. Can you see what the masks remind you of?  YES ! The clay masks worn by actors in ancient Greek theatre. The costumes and disguises offered-and still do- anonymity and freedom of expression.
Apokries is celebrated all over Greece, with feasts that can’t always be described as ‘decent”- in memory of Dionyssus and his followers, who worshiped the phallus and fertility. The songs sung again cannot be described as “decent”, and if you go I hope your Greek is not enough to help you understand the lyrics !!!
This year  the beginning of Carnival or Triodion was on the 21st February – by Tiodion we mean, the beginning of the 3-week Carnival Season which ends on Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera) 15/03/21, the beginning of Lent before Easter.  In between is  TSIKNOPEMPTI,  a very interesting feast, a Thursday when everyone eats meat (04/03). Tsiknopempti  is supposed to be the last meat-eating until Easter (02/05, this year).
The end of Carnival is marked by KATHARI DEFTERA, “Clean Monday”, 15/03 this year, and a long weekend .This Monday is “clean” because we get really serious about not eating meat and going healthy and we eat seafood, pickles, laganes ( a kind of flat round bread) and tarama (a dip made of fish eggs), all that accompanied by wine-that’s when we forget about being serious!
We also fly kites! Preferably in places without electricity wires above, hoping to get the right wind and trying to hush kids up when they go “:But I thought the kite was for ME, daddy, not for you and your friends !!!” NOTE THAT Kite flying will be allowed this Kathari Deftera, only in areas walking distance from your residence.
With that we leave you, hoping you will enjoy Kathari Deftera in Greece and come back with your experiences from this cheerful holiday !!!
photos are from Karnavali of Patras, the Carnival parade ! (from their official cite)


Easter for me has very specific smells that bring back memories from my childhood.

All that being said, I can confide in you that Easter smells of violets – understandable! -ammonia, that my mom used in Easter cookies to help them raise -NOT pleasant- and sour orange tree blossoms that bloomed in every neighbourhood,and still do.

 That’s about my Easters in Athens as a child.

Now let’s talk about YOUR Easter in Greece, or better, what we think your Easter in Greece should be like and what you should not miss.
CORFU is famous for having a very artistic and …musical Easter.
On Good Thursday and Good Friday you can attend the mass at the Cathedral – with an organ -, the bands go around the streets playing mournful music, and the procession of Epitafios through the little streets of the old town late in the evening give an air of mysticissm and sanctity. The hymns of Good Friday are my personal favourites!
All that until Saturday morning at 11, when people break pottery by throwing them from the windows, in an attempt to chase THE evil-which is not intimidated at all, as we can all see!!!!
CHIOS island and a lot more, like Kalymnos, are famous for the “rocket war”, a very fierce and loud firework throwing and battle between neighbourhoods.
 Very spectacular, very loud!
HYDRA, this very special island of Argosaronikos, is famous for putting the Epitafios into the sea in order to bless the sea water. Considering that Hydra was a naval society that depended on sea fares and trade, that makes perfect sense.
In the CYCLADES I have my personal favourites:
Paros, and more specifically the Epitafios in Marpissa and Santorini in Pyrgos, one of the most beautiful villages of the island, with the little lanterns on the slope of the rock that light up the whole place.
 What I like about Easter in Crete is -except for the food and the music and dancing that I adore – is the burning of Judas after the resurrection. One big dummy that represents Judas is placed on a bonfire-with a whistle in his…well, backside, and is burned after church with everyone celebrating and the whistle blowing.
Mmmmmm, interesting habit!
.A sweet place, quite near Athens, with small pebble beaches and mountain villages, with a very particular habit:
On Saturday, as soon as the priest announces the resurrection of Jesus -that’s midnight – the sky is filled with paper balloons of various colours that are made by the local people or neighbourhoods. Very spectacular!
The other areas celebrate Easter in their own ways, all very particular and all related to the local habits, customs and traditions. I cannot recommend only one place, there are too many! Remember that Easter is our most important Christian holiday.
So, find your own favourite place, go, enjoy, come back and tell us:

Enlightenment, more needed than ever !!!

Photo: the celebration of the Sanctification of the Water in Naousa

Dearest friends,

Today, January 6th, is the celebration of the Sanctification of the Water, the Epiphany or Fota , meaning that the water was blessed when Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan by Saint John the Baptist.

The day is celebrated all over Greece with the priest throwing the cross into the sea, a river, a lake or any body of water near each area and young men jumping into the -usually cold -water trying to catch it. The one who catches it is supposed to be blessed all year long.
I remember when I was a kid the priest used to go around the houses of the neighbourhood and bless them with holy water, but I haven’t seen that for some time now.

The point of this holiday is the Enlightenment through the appearance of God (THEOFANIA) and the blessing.

Except for the waters, we can think of many people who DESPERATELY need BLESSING and ENLIGHTMENT here and now,

if you get our meaning …


ICE RINKS in ATHENS 2017 – 2018


is your reliable, fair and competent partner for all kind of ice rinks (permanent and mobile ones). With grant experience and expertise in both the competitive and the entertainment sector of ice skating, the company is involved in the construction and operation of mobile and permanent ice rinks as well as in organizing large sites and events for entertainment purposes, with ice being the basic element. Our target is to combine high quality technologies (for example in the professional ice rink sector) with creative and beautiful ice rink landscapes.

ICE ARENA can look back on many years of experience in cooling and ice rink technologies and that gives our customers a guarantee for a successful co-operation. We run our own ice rinks for over a decade now and we can therefore help our customers with all our experience, not only in a technical aspect, but also in an organizational, financial and artistic aspect. Our customers get all the possible help to ensure the success in their own ice rinks…

SOURSE (in Greek):






The largest permanent ice rink in our country is ready to welcome all our friends once again this upcoming winter season. Its operation started on the 26th of September 2016 and it will remain open until the end of April of 2017.

The largest permanent ice rink in the country has an ice surface of more than 1,000 square meters! These dimensions are close to international standards, which means the ice rink is appropriate for athletic activities as well, and is able to accommodate parents and guests in comfortable and beautiful surroundings…


From September 8, 2017 to end of May 2018

At: 186 Peireos str, Tavros

Week days: 15:00 – 23:00
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 – 23:00
Tel Ice Arena: 6940 665 707

750 parking spaces

Nearest stations:

Electric Railway (Green line): Station Petralona

Suburban train: Tavros station

Attico Metro (red & blue line): Keramikos

Entrance ticket: 10 euros

read more/map/access (in Greek):


Ice Rink at Megaron Athens Concert Hall


The Megaron Athens Concert Hall is a creative arena for cultural and educational activities, an arts centre organized along contemporary lines to promote the role of culture in the community. It offers an excellent example of successful collaboration between the state and the private sector.

Ice Arena, for the first time in the history of Megaron, operates at its premises one of the most elegant and unique ice rink in Athens throughout the winter season.

In the special and original area of the “Atrium”, the new ice rink of ICE ARENA with a size of 375 square meters, completely covered by a beautiful and original tent so guests can skate in all weather conditions…


Τo the end of March 2018

At: Vass. Sofias ave. & Kokkali str

Week days: 16:00 – 23:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays: 11:00 – 23:00

750 parking spaces

Nearest Metro (red & blue line) station: Megaro Mousikis

Entrance ticket: 10 euros

read more/map/access (in Greek):


Ice Rink at Escape Center



The Escape Center multiplex and the Ster Cinemas, located in the heart of Ilion, have promoted a different way of life since 2003 and have kept company on a daily basis to thousands of visitors, by proposing alternative ideas for daily “getaways”. Such an idea was the creation of an ice rink and, as proved, it was instantly loved by all of you! That is why, this winter once again for the 7th season, the beautiful ice skating rink from ICE ARENA will be there to bring you joy and many more fun moments!

From the 11th of November 2016  to the end of  January 2017, we will be open daily from 16:00 to 23:00 and on weekends from 11:00 to 23:00 for endless fun on ice at your favorite hangout place in Ilion!…


At: 64A Leoforos Dimokratioas, Ilion

Attiki Odos exit 7

Week days: 16:00 – 23:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays: 11:00 – 23:00

500 parking spaces

read more/map/access (in Greek):



shopping & more… ice rink


Since 2013 and throughout the winter, Ice Arena operates its one of the most modern ice rinks in Athens at the well-known multiplex «VILLAGE shopping and more…» at Rendi.

To the end of February 2018 !!!

In the open space of «VILLAGE shopping and more…», next to the cafeterias, the restaurants and all the playgrounds, a new ice rink of 400 m² is created, which is fully covered by a beautiful and practical tent for skating under all weather conditions. The customer service first starts inside the modern and graphic tent houses beside the rink, where our staff will assist you with the rental of ice skates. Then, everyone is ready to enjoy the top quality of ice, for unlimited time, always accompanied in the rink by the qualified personnel of Ice Arena…

*Info in Greek:

At: 228 Thivon & Parnassou str. , Agios Ioannis Rendis

Week days: 16:00 – 23:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays: 11:00 – 24:00

Entrance ticket: 10 euros

read more/map/access (in Greek):






Community Connect

On Wednesday 14thMay, from 10.30 to 12.30, Athens Community Connect meets again for coffee, cake and a chat at St. Paul’s Garden, the Swedish Centre, Daidalou 18, Plaka. Sale of handmade greetings cards, books/DVDs/CDs (only 50 cents each/donated items always welcome), Good-as-New clothing, Homemade preserves, Swedish delicacies and crafts. Prizes for the Raffle and the Lucky Chair! Proceeds benefit the Anglican Chaplaincy and its nominated charities (details available from the organiser). Contact: Anne (210 512 9261/693 897 3623) or Margaret (694 164 2444).

Treasure Island


A musical based on the novel of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson

DIRECTOR Thomas Moschopoulos
DRAMATURGY Thomas Moschopoulos
LIGHTING DESIGNER Lefteris Pavlopoulos
MOVEMENT Amalia Bennett

Argyris Xafis, Thanos Tokakis, Socrates Patsikas, Anna Kalaitzidou, Giorgos Papageorgiou, Yiannis Klinis, Thodoris Petropoulos, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Mihalis Kilakos, Stavros Svigos

Special group bookings for schools:
Tel. no: &
Tel. & fax no:



Vas. Sofias & Kokkali str.
New Exhibition Hall

New Exhibition Hall 

NEW Dates/Time:
5,12 ΑPRIL 2014/15:00
6,13 ΑPRIL 2014/11:30

General admission: € 12

Buy your ticket Online


General admission: € 12

Buy your ticket Online

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‘New to Greece’ and now what to do?

By Katerina Tsitsipi

At last, you have unpacked, put the furniture into place, the kids started school, and….”WHAT AM I
DOING HERE?”, you probably think.

Well, you can do EVERYTHING here, provided that you ask the right people, meet people from your country and others, and set your mind into the task of making it and settling down, while trying to adapt in the new country.
After many years of working with expats, we have gathered some advice and experience from the side of the newcomer and the local people. 

First of all, join Newcomers! For obvious reasons! 

Don’t hesitate to ask anyone in the street for help, info, or advice. Greeks are generally quite friendly and helpful towards foreigners. If you are beginning to learn Greek, even if you know only 3 words, don’t be shy, USE THEM! Nobody will make fun of you or laugh at you. One thing I tell my students is that learning Greek opens a window in your life! Hard to believe? You think it’s an IMPOSSIBLE language to learn? 

That’s what we think, too. It’s hard. That’s why whenever we see a foreigner trying to learn it, we respect him/her, no matter what. 

About shopping: one of the best things we have in Athens, in my opinion, is the “laiki” (pronounced lie-ee-kee), the street market. If you consider that we eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables every day (frozen meals are not popular at all), you can understand why the laikis are always so crowded. The salesman will give you a bag to pick your own produce so that you can choose by yourself the quantity you like. They will let you taste their produce, and they might even offer you some as a present.

Tip: if you get to know the people there, you will be able to do your shopping very fast since they will choose for you. I always “threaten” jokingly that if they don’t give me super good quality, I’ll shout next time I come!

Greece is the ideal country for socializing.

Both yours and your children’s social life will be extremely rich – your diary will be full! There are zillions of things to do in Athens for adults, children, families etc. provided that you are open to all that. Don’t be afraid of staying out till late. A very popular Saturday evening activity is cinema first, eating out afterwards (you might have noticed by now that everything here is followed by food). Don’t stay within the limits of your area, go to the centre of town, venture south, go everywhere! Try to adapt your schedule to ours occasionally – within limits, sometimes we are TOO MUCH! 

On the weekends, discover our parks, playgrounds, mountains, museums, concert halls and the weekly events. Sygrou Park in Marousi, Parnitha Mountain, Poulaki Park in Filothei, are just a few places you can visit for a nice walk.

If you allow it to be, Greece can be a dream country, There are negative aspects to living here, but if you get to know the culture, the people and the language, you just may fall in love with Greece… many people do!

via: Newcomers Newsletter October 2013

you can visit:



Greek Conversation and Culture group

Dearest friends,

We would like to announce a new, more flexible style that our conversation groups will have. We are aiming at groups with a limited and theme-centered context to meet the participants’ specific needs.

The groups will have a theme, i.e. SHOPPING, MOVING AROUND, GREETINGS AND SOCIAL LIFE etc.The participants will meet 3,4 times or until they’ve covered the specific language and in the end they will take part in a real-life activity,ie a visit to the local market, a shop,etc to practice what they’ve just learnt.

The participants will be able to join any group or groups they want, without, of course, any obligation to join all of them. The maximum number of people can be up to 5 or 6 and we can create groups in the North, South or centre of Athens.

For more advanced people, we are planning literature and culture groups that will study or prepare a theatre play, an art exhibition, an event and then watch it.

We hope that with these groups we will cover your needs and make your stay here easier and more enjoyable.

See you soon!

Contact, e-mail us

or call for details


tel/fax: 210-8077073
cell: 6937073699

Mythology in English

Dearest friends,

Our Mythology group this year will deal with the adventures of Ulysses (Odysseus) and our aim is to take our little friends to the theatre to watch one of the best plays for children that we have ever seen with the same theme, the Odyssey. Last year we took our Mythology Group to a theater play about the part of the Mythology that we had dealt with, and the children loved it because, even though it was in Greek, they could follow and they also loved Savopoulos’ music.

If you are interested, contact us to discuss the details. Our group usually meets on Sundays at 5.00, but we are flexible.