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The Ghost of Charmaena - Carnival of Amfissa

A custom related to a very old local legend, regarding a ghost protecting a local fountain, Charmaina. The legend said that more ghosts were protecting other places and they would fight amongst them many times. The locals would hear the screams and hide in their homes. A quite spectacular event which gets very crowded.

Embracing the Enchantment of Amfissa's Ancient Legend

The Ghost of Charmaena - Carnival of Amfissa by Photographer George Tatakis
The Ghost of Charmaena in Amfissa during the Carnival

The Tale of Love and Tragedy

Amfissa, a town steeped in history and adorned with beautifully restored old buildings, unveils a unique and captivating tradition on the last Saturday of the Carnival - The Ghost of Charmaena Carnival. This extraordinary custom is intricately woven into a very old local legend, a tale of love, tragedy, and spectral guardianship.

The legend narrates the poignant story of a devoted tanner who, deeply in love with a beautiful girl, embarked on long journeys to sell his goods and secure engagement rings for their union. His return, however, unfolded a heart-wrenching tragedy – his beloved had met a tragic end, struck by lightning. Overwhelmed by grief, the tanner succumbed to sorrow and became the ghost of Charmaina, haunting the local fountain.

As the legend unfolds, it reveals that more ghosts guarded various places, engaging in spectral battles that echoed through the night. The locals, startled by the chilling screams, sought refuge in their homes. The Carnival of Amfissa, a manifestation of this ancient legend, brings to life the tale of the Ghost of Charmaina in a truly spectacular and crowded event.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa

Unraveling the Carnival's Intricacies

I got myself in the town as early as I could so I could go around and understand the event's schedule. Amfissa is a beautiful town with many restored old buildings. You can find many nice traditional cafes and taverns around with delicious comfort food.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Local shops

Preparation at the Local Art Workshop

The Carnival's enchantment begins as participants converge at the local art workshop. Here, faces are painted, costumes adorned, and the air is charged with anticipation. The workshop, rather than homes, serves as the hub for preparation, fostering a communal spirit among the participants.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Waiting for everyone to get ready

The Playful Prelude

As the sun sets, the town comes alive with the laughter of little ones, their faces adorned with paint and excitement. The rhythmic beat of tin buckets, struck with cut branches, reverberates through the streets, a traditional Greek method to ward off malevolent spirits. The festive atmosphere builds, creating a sense of anticipation.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Playing outside

Ghostly Presence

Inside the art workshop, three figures dressed in goat's skin prepare to embody the ghosts central to the Carnival. These spectral entities, carried by participants, add an eerie and mystical dimension to the event. The merging of ancient folklore and modern revelry sets the stage for a night of enchantment.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Ghosts preparing for the parade

The Grand Parade

As darkness descends, the music resonates through the streets, setting an otherworldly ambiance. The parade, commencing from the central church and descending the steps to the square of "Kehagias," is a visual spectacle.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Father and daughter

Torches and Ghost fights

Fairies, torches ablaze, line the stairs, casting an ethereal glow. The main event unfolds on a stage in the square, complete with lights, chains, and ghostly screams. The Ghost of Charmaena emerges victorious in the spectral battle, captivating the audience, after multiple fights with other monstrous ghosts.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Girls with torches to light up the parade

Spirited Revelry

The parade escorts the large ghosts that approach the square. There is a stage set on the square and a show takes place with lights and scary sounds of chains and screams. The ghosts arrive on the stage and a big fight begins. The ghost of Charmaina is the winner as always. After the ghosts leave the stage a huge number of dressed people follow and come through the stage. A big crowd is cheering around the event. When everyone has passed through, the party goes on around the local bars and taverns.

The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Ghosts ready to fight
The Ghost of Charmaina Carnival of Amfissa
Pagan music of the parade

Epilogue

In the mystical embrace of Amfissa's Ghost of Charmaena Carnival, ancient legends converge with contemporary celebration, creating an everlasting spell that captivates the soul. As the echoes of pagan music fade into the night, the town's rich history dances with the joyous footsteps of the present. The Grand Parade, with its fairies, ghosts, and spectral battles, stands as a testament to the resilience of folklore in the face of modernity. Amfissa invites all to immerse themselves in this enchanting tradition, a tapestry woven with threads of love, tragedy, and jubilation. As the Ghost of Charmaena finds its rest, the spirit of Amfissa's Carnival lives on, an eternal celebration that beckons travelers and locals alike to partake in its mesmerizing allure.

Love

xx

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