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Cultural Events in Cyprus

Cyprus is not just a place with sunny golden beaches, where all you can do is to relax by the sea. All year round, there are various events hosted in the towns and also the countryside. Cultural events, sports events to watch or participate, festivals, religious fairs of the Greek Orthodox Church and several informative conferences introducing contemporary matters.

The government is making efforts to promote the display of the various aspects of Cypriot traditional culture. Particular emphasis is placed on music, traditional dance, literature and folk art. Cyprus tradition in folk art and handicrafts, finds its origins in the depth of time, where all kinds of crafts were utilitarian. Expressions of this art, best known internationally, are lacework produced by women, mainly in the picturesque village of Lefkara, silversmith and pottery, practiced in several villages and the towns. Nowadays the traditional arts and crafts are maintained by government sponsorship through the Cultural Services office, under the Ministry of Education and Culture, or by private enterprise. Promotion to the public is achieved through exhibitions, publications and competition awards for traditional literature, poetry, music and lyrics composition, dancing and sketches.

It is a custom in Cyprus to organise several annual festivals to celebrate important holidays, or to welcome a new season. The “Wine Festival” is taking place in Limassol, during the first ten days of September, with free wine for everyone. The Festival of the Flood, known as “Cataclysm” takes place in Larnaca and Limassol, on the celebration of the Pentecost and lasts for three days. “Anthestiria”, the Spring Flower Festival, was celebrated in Cyprus since the dawn of the twentieth century, with origins from the Ancient Greek festival “Dionysia” in honor of God Dionysos. It takes place in Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and Nicosia with flower parade and exhibitions and several activities. At Christmas and Easter time there are Festivals in the main cities and traditional Easter games at the villages.

I could not neglect mentioning the Carnival, which might be the most vivid and enthusiastic Festival in Cyprus, for the little and the older ones! Carnival takes place in Limassol, on the last two Sundays before Easter period to signify the end of meat-eating. A huge parade takes place each Sunday, with participation of several groups and dancing schools on their chariots, from all over the island and thousands of people who come to celebrate and watch the parade, mostly dressed up in costumes. On the last Sunday there is a prize for the group with the best costume!

All over Cyprus there are annual fairs celebrating the name day of major Saints of Orthodoxy. The fairs take place in the countryside, at the villages’ square and at the churchyard of the towns’ main parishes. At the fairs the locals sell home-made fruity sweets, nuts, several traditional Cypriot food products and handicrafts. On the rural areas, in every region, there are organised annual Festivals, where the local producers present their goods and products, usually locally grown fruits, vegetables and sweets. During those festivals there are also traditional dancing and music shows and free food for the visitors. All the festivals are open to the public.

Events in Cyprus are not restricted in Cypriot Tradition. Cultural shows from many other countries present in Cyprus folk dance and music. During the “Kypria” annual festival held by the Ministry of Education & Culture, many famous performers from all over the world participate in shows. Also contemporary music concerts and dance shows take place in theatres. The Cyprus Theatre Organisation, sponsored by the Government, presents plays both contemporary and classical. The ancient theatre of Curium has been restored and hosts many classical dramas, comedies and music concerts, as the acoustic is excellent. A theatre, up to the prototype of an ancient one has been also build in Nicosia, offering staging for plays.

There are many painters and sculptors working and casting their works in Cyprus. A permanent exhibition of the collection of contemporary Cypriot art is available and maintained by the Cultural Services office. Various Exhibitions are hosted in Galleries in all towns.

Sports are a very common opportunity for entertainment in Cyprus. Stadiums, sporting centers, natatoriums, associations and sports clubs facilitate involvement in sports like football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, archery, fencing, skiing, bowling and weightlifting. Various athletic activities like horse riding, water sports, hiking and car rally are becoming more and more popular. There is a professional football league and a semiprofessional basketball and volleyball league. Each game gathers many enthusiast funs of the sport.

When the summer days start to fade away, living in Cyprus can still be exciting for anyone. Clearly there is a lot to do in Cyprus and it is certain that you will enjoy visiting all these events. Getting involved with the tradition on the island will help you understand better the locals or even blend in if you want!

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