Carnival in Crete

Carnival in Crete

 

Think February is a dead time in Crete? Think again!

 

The biggest celebration of the year in Greece is Easter.  Lent, the 40 days and nights leading up to Easter sees a time of fasting and abstinence, there are no weddings, parties or celebrations. So just before Lent we have 3 weeks of fun, known as Apokries.

 

Apokries

Better known as Carnival, many celebrations and festivities take place, local businesses join in with decorations, live music and fancy dress parties. All over Crete the villages put on street processions but the biggest is the Rethymnon Carnival. Themed decorated floats, a huge street party, everyone in costumes. Organised for over 100 years, 20,000 participants and 100,000 visitors are expected this year.

https://www.rethymno.guide/news/450-rethymno-s-carnival,-the-carnival-of-crete

Protofoni

The first feast of Apokries is named ‘Protofoni’ or 'Announcement’. During this week readings from the Triodeon (book of the Three Holy Sacraments) are made daily in churches and on the Sunday the feast of Protofoni announces the beginning of Carnival.

Kreatini

The second feast of Apokries is named Kreatini and is known as ‘Meat Week’. This is traditionally the last opportunity to eat meat before Lent. The Thursday of this week is named Tsikno Pempti or Burnt Thursday where feasting on grilled meats are the order of the day. Many parties, including fancy dress parties or the wearing of masks are held in bars or clubs commence during this week.

Tirini

The third feast of Apokries is called Tirini and is known as ‘Cheese Week’. Cheese, eggs and dairy products are enjoyed heartedly during this week as meat is not allowed.

Tyrofagis Sunday

This is the last day of Apokries when the grand parades take place.

Colourful floats parade throughout the main streets to the crowds of enthusiastic and usually fancy dress wearing spectators.

Street Food stalls and balloon sellers mingle with spectators while music is played loudly for a truly carnival atmosphere, parties with much eating and drinking go on throughout the night.

Clean Monday

'Kathara Deftera' or Clean Monday, which falls on the 2nd of March in 2009, marks the end of Apokries and the beginning of Lent.

Fasting begins on this day where traditionally no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, olive oil or wine are allowed to be consumed for the 40 days leading up to Easter.

Clean Monday is a Bank Holiday in Greece and heralds the beginning of spring. Many families enjoy this day by taking Lenten picnics to the mountains or the beach. The foods consumed on this day contain ‘no blood’. Instead salads, fresh and pickled vegetables, shellfish, octopus, squid and bread are enjoyed. A delicious sweet of Halva is also consumed. It is traditional to fly kites on this day.

So if Rio is a bit to far, pop over to party in Crete the Greek way!

 

 

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Last minute wedding!

Last minute wedding!

Thinking of getting married next year, panicking about timescales? The beauty of having your ceremony here with us is the no stress, laid back organisation!! Just pick the date, let us find you the perfect venue, we book your suppliers, you book rooms and flights. Done. Relax over Christmas and 2 months before the date we finalise the details. When you arrive everything will be ready for you, all you need to do is enjoy the beautiful scenery and let us take care of everything.

 

 

Autumn in a Crete

 

Its been a really busy season,  but my favourite time of year has arrived, and in theory everything slows down.  This is the perfect time where we wake to chilly mornings with clear blue skies and bright sunshine, warming up to 24 degrees perfect for beach walks, hikes, stand up paddle boarding, sailing or afternoon swims. The tourist season is over, there is a calmer laid back atmosphere as the locals knuckle down to winter work. The olives are being picked now, everywhere is the whirr of the mechanical rotators and big black nets spread on the ground- including the roads!- to catch the olives. Neighbours and friends work together, be it a grove or one tree in a garden. Sacks of the olives are transported on pick up trucks, or cars so laden the tail gates scrape the floors, to the olive oil factory which works 24 hours a day to press the olives within 3 days of picking. The smell of oil scents the air, as does wood smoke as they burn tree trimmings.  Outside the factory, farmers enjoy communal bbqs as they wait to collect their oil, coming out florescent green and tasting like no oil you’ve ever had before.

It feels strangely springlike, this is lambing season, and the cutest lambs gambol on the hillsides by their mothers, and this is hunting season too so early morning or late afternoon you hear the alarming sound of gunshot as you pray the little birds and hares have escaped! 

How’s the weather where you are? Hop on a plane, come enjoy an out of season break and join the olive pickers!  

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Olive picking holidays are popular.  

 

 

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Sheep!!  

Donkey tales- or Wedding day transport

Donkey tales- or Wedding day transport

We would always suggest having your Wedding close to your accommodation and reception, with the traditional procession through the village for good wishes, however if you will be travelling to different venues here are some ideas on how to do so:

Donkey: thanks to Mamma Mia, a very romantic idea, but a small donkey tale. We requested some donkeys from our local sanctuary for children's rides at our annual Winter Fayre. The donkeys set off for the easy 1 hour journey in good time. 3 hours later we were told the donkeys had reached Kalives and refused to walk any more. The phrase 'stubborn as a mule' was never more apt!!! 

Vintage car- make an entrance in a classic Cadillac Elderado cabrio 1961 or Rolls Royce Silver Shadow 1972.

Mini train- up to 100 people this is a really fun way to transport guests.

Boat- why not arrive Bond style on a speed boat? For a more extreme style why not Stand Up Paddle board or canoe across the Bay? 

Horse and carraige- an open carriage decorated with flowers through the village to the venue. Cinderella eat your heart out! 

Scooters- especially after the blessing (to avoid a totally helmet head look) the bride and groom on a motorcycle, the guests in convoy on scooters!  

Coach, taxis- of course for large parties and longer distances a modern private air condioned coach or taxi is the most comfortable way to travel.  

local donkey sanctuary

a mini train journey  

 

horse and carriage in Chania  

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Cadillac Eldorado 1961

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scooter! 

Summer events in Crete

Summer events in Crete

Summer in Crete is like a fully charged Duracell bunny!  July and August hosts a string of diverse cultural events, from art and theatre to panigiris- festivals arranged competitively village by village, usually consisting of live musicians from all over Greece, lots of BBQ food, local wine and beer and dancing into the small hours.

A wander around Chania last night we stumbled upon an open air opera in the ancient ruins,  a naval band playing in the harbour, and a Greek rock concert in a bar! Check out Crete events for latest.

Locally we have Jazz in July, live bands including my favourite Small Change for 80's music, the local orchestra Vamos Ensemble on the beach and Classical Greek music in Ancient Aptera to celebrate the partial lunar eclipse. I came home to a full on Rock Festival at the end of my road!!  

As my London friend remarked in surprise - who knew so much happened in a small Greek village!! 

 

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Summer Festival

Summer Festival

As well as weddings, anniversaries and special occasions we are pleased to donate our services to organise many charity events, we believe in giving back to this wonderful place we call home. 

Sunday afternoon excursion

Sunday afternoon excursion

With so many things to do on this island, the beauty of our Apokoronas region is everything is within easy reach. You've had your special day or wedding, you have guests with you, what to do with them?  

What does a wedding planner's wedding look like?

What does a wedding planner's wedding look like?

 

Our weddings totally reflected our personalities, and we believe this is the secret of a successful wedding!

Claudia is boho, laid back, no fuss and natural.

Venue: 18 years ago, a summer wedding in August, in the townhall registry office set in a fortress in a small German town. A tractor towing a wagon transported the whole wedding party firstly to her parents house for traditional champagne and soup, then later to a barn for the party.

Food: With a buffet with cake and coffee dessert, friends and family contributed with readings, speeches and small 'skits' for entertainment, some Greek dancers to honour her Greek husband, then ending with dancing to her brothers rock band until the sun came up and guests collapsed on hay bales.

Style: wild flowers, tractors and very relaxed.

Dress: simple white boho dress, flip flops, wildflower bouquet, no bridesmaids, no hair or make up! 

Next time: Neisha's wedding.  

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Flowers- to have or have not!

When working to a budget it's usual to think - do we really need flowers? The beauty of getting married in Crete are the stunning locations: having a beach wedding, a country estate party, a roof terrace reception you have a head start! But flowers add a beautiful touch,  a subtle embellishment of palest blush or a big splash of vibrant colour. However in the heat of summer, consider the type of flowers. Roses come in an array of shapes and colours and last longer than a delicate lily. Floral arrangements can be then given as thank you gifts at the end of the night too. Why not add herbs into a bouquet for fragrance, or for meaning:

 Rosemary was used for weddings by Ancient Greek brides in their bridal crowns.  Today rosemary can dress a boutonniere, a place setting, be given as a guest favor or add texture to a floral arrangement.

Marjoram is the Greek symbol of joy and happiness.  Marjoram also represents goodwill as the couple starts their new life.  Marjoram was also used by Ancient Greek brides in their bridal crowns.  This herb can add subtle interest to many flower combinations and most wouldn’t even know what it is.

Lavender is the herb of devotion.  Lavender is used in wedding bouquets for symbol of devotion as well as the signature aroma of the herb.  Lavender has a soothing fragrance that can help calm the bride’s nerves.  Lavender is probably the most popular herb of today and has been used in countless weddings in many different ways.

Thyme is the symbol of strength and courage.  For courage brides tuck thyme into their bouquet and tie it with white ribbon.  Thyme was also tucked into knights armor before battle to give them strength and courage. 

Sage is the herb of long life, good health, and domestic sweetness.  If sage and garlic are both carried by a bride it was believed to give her great wisdom as well as goodness.  For the modern day, sage is a nice addition to centerpieces, depending on the variety, like prairie sage, there is a beautiful blue-green shade to use.

Dill is the herb of lust.  It was believed that a bride would only lust for her husband if she carried dill in her bouquet.  Besides its meaning, dill can add a soft texture to your bouquet too. 

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Simple flowers can add the finishing touch.  

Pre-wedding party with style in Crete

Pre-wedding party with style in Crete

Living by the sea in a small area we are lucky to know many people and places in Almyrida and Kalives to put together unique packages for you. Want a pre- wedding party with a twist? A special occasion gift?

10 things to do in Chania on a rainy day!

10 things to do in Chania on a rainy day!

After months of hot sunshine personally we are delighted  to see rain (and have been known to dance on the terrace outside our office in a downpour!) But just in case you get a rainy day, a few local suggestions, and if you have any others please send them in and we will add them.  Don’t worry if there is a shower on your special day, a good event planner always has a Plan B…...! Watch out for rainbows...

When to come

When to come

Our summer starts generally mid April ending in October, you can get better flight and accommodation prices during these months.   Our spring here is beautiful with wild flower meadows, lambs, snow capped mountains and cooler evenings.

Hiking is popular at this time of year. Easter is our biggest celebration of the year. July and August are the hottest, busiest times here and if possible, best avoided. Autumn has warm seas, more comfortable temperatures and a more relaxed feel, November and December can have lovely sunny days, why not try olive picking! January and February our rainiest months when we tend to go into hibernation! 

How to come

How to come

The largest of the Greek islands we have 2 international airports. Direct flights start in April or around Easter until October. Our closest airport is Chania, 40 minutes drive away. A taxi transfer to Almyrida is approximately €50, for larger groups you can hire 20 or 50 seater coaches.

Heraklion is a 2 hour drive. There is a public bus with one change, into Kalives, but you are better to hire a car. 

Throughout the year we have flights via Athens which is just a 40 minute hop....

Where to start

Where to start

It may seem daunting planning a wedding or party abroad but let's do this step by step...

Book your date: consider school holidays, peak season flight and accommodation costs and of course weather. If you have a particular venue in mind it is better to book well in advance. 

Invite your guests: with large groups the earlier the better to find accommodation close together and get early booking discounts. 

Plan your day: let's find your perfect venue, tell us your style, choose the menu, book your photographer, entertainment, etc...

Birthday Beach

Birthday Beach

We promise you unique, undiscovered venues for your special celebrations, so we thought we’d better find some! We called our good friend Joe (Zak the Belgian shepherd decided to stay on the beach) and at 8am this morning did a cruise around our Bay. With the backdrop of the snowcapped white mountains Almyrida Bay and Kalives Beach looked stunning from the sea. We found a little island for practically private sun bathing, our favourite little sandy cove for beach picnics and Goat Beach (as we have re-christened) hidden away behind dramatic volcanic formations, Joe has camped out for several days here and says the goats leave in summer! They were not too happy to be disturbed today!  The breathtaking sandy cove (reminiscent of Thailand) gets busy with locals late morning, so how about a sunrise breakfast picnic?...

Almyrida Bay

Almyrida Bay

20 years ago this was a sleepy little fishing village with a few family run tavernas. Today it has developed significantly with some souvenir shops ATM machines, a diving centre and non motorised water activities,  however still has family run tavernas. The sheltered bays are perfect for families. Expanded but never quite over run with summer visitors, it is still very much a friendly, laid back village – not resort! – where the locals are always welcoming. There are only 3 large hotels in this area, so we avoid the ‘package holiday’ feel with an interesting blend of independent travellers staying in villas or guests houses mostly from Europe and America, many returning year after year...