Flower festival celebrations in Paphos

The annual Anthestiria Flower Festival is taking place in Paphos on May 29 and the cultural services of Paphos municipality are urging those who want to take part to fill in an application form. The traditional event which has a history spanning close to a century, sees locals taking part in a parade which uses fresh flowers to decorate floats and baskets. The event will take place on Sunday May 29 at 5pm, and will travel along Poseidonos Avenue in Kato Paphos, heading towards the harbour. “The parade will follow the same route as the carnival took this year and we are hoping that many groups will take part,” a municipality spokesman said.

The event was first in organised Paphos in 1920 by a collection of different local groups. Since 1992, Paphos municipality and ‘Nature lovers and cultural society of Paphos’ have joined forces up to organise the parade. “The event, which has been identified with the cultural tradition of Paphos, is a great way to embrace nature; it signifies life, rebirth, ancient mythology, flowers, and spring, as everything comes to life,” he said. Flowers used in the parade are donated by the municipality, although people taking part may also bring their own flowers, collected from their gardens or elsewhere. “It’s our intention to provide flowers for everyone taking part. I am optimistic at this point that we will be able to do that,” the spokesman said.

Numbers of participants will become clearer after the schools return from the Easter break, he said, and many groups are also due to take part. A statement from Paphos municipality said: “The organisers are inviting schools, associations, organised groups and agencies, to participate in the parade, to strengthen the institution of Anthesteria and tradition in Paphos, the European Capital of Culture for 2017; which is inspired by the past to create the present, and build tomorrow.” The culture services spokesman said that everyone is welcome to take part, whatever age and whatever nationality. “This year, we have 16 specific themes which are to do with mythology, spring, the sea, the sun and so on. These may be used by participants, or if they feel they have their own ideas which fit with the spirit of the festival they may use their own,” he said.

According to the cultural services, the festival traces its roots to the Anthestiria celebrations of ancient Greece which were held in honour of the Greek god Dionysus and which spread joy among the people. In modern times such festivals are still held to mark the arrival of spring and to celebrate nature. The word ‘Anthestiria’ is derived from the word ‘anthos’ meaning flower. The Anthestiria Flower Festival parade will make its way along Poseidonos Avenue in Paphos on Sunday May29th at 5pm. It will last for around an hour and people are being invited to line the route.