Camille watched by the sidelines for ten years but she could not resist any longer.
Tonight at Naxos’ unique parade of torchbearers known as Lambadifories she donned her white sheet, got her face painted and chanted “ehh ohhhh ehhh ohhh” along with the over close to 1,000 people who decided to take part.
“I remember when it first started it was 50, 100 people. And now, look” says the Norwegian native who has lived on the island for twelve years.
What started as a carnival parallel event based on ancient Dionysian rituals by the local theatre group, has grown over the years to a sort of group catharsis that begins with participants gathering in the Castle to receive their “costume,” “torch,” and “face” for the night.
Volunteers from the island assist in the masking of paraders, while hotels in the area play their part by providing sheets.
The parade route begins in the maze of streets around the castle in the Kastro district in the Old Town and flows onto the promenade along the port, with the Temple of Apollo in the distance.
After slow movement of chant, trance of dance they assemble in the main square to drink the local spirit sweet spirit, rakomelo.