Festivals are an important part of Cypriot culture. Not a month passes by in Cyprus without a festival celebration of some kind or another. There are music & dance festivals, flower festivals and religious festivals - all offer a colourful and exciting glimpse into the traditions and lives of the Cypriot people.
Kicking off the festival calendar in January are the annual Cultural Winter Festivals at Ayia Napa and Paralimni. Both are celebrations of Cyprus's cultural heritage, which is explored through a series of concerts, dance performances, poetry readings and recitals. The events are free and open to the public.
February and March see the annual carnival festivals explode into life across the island. Known as the Apokreo, the festivals take place over a two-week period some 50 days before Easter each year. Hundreds of towns and villages participate, Limassol's Carnival being the most impressive of the lot.
Easter is naturally an important time on Cyprus. Various religious ceremonies take place during this time. Afterwards, in May, Cyprus celebrates the glory of its flowers! The Anthestiria Flower Festival takes place through the streets of Paphos, the highlight being the flower parade in which floats are decorated with the flowers of springtime.
The summer in Cyprus is packed full of festivals to coincide with the height of the tourist season. From the Childrens' Festival held in Ayia Napa every June to the annual Limassol Beer Festival in July - the latter being where dance and low-priced beer make for arguably one of Limassol's best-loved festivals in its calendar - there really are festivals for every age and taste.
Come the autumn Limassol and alcohol are once again in the festival spotlight. This time, Limassol hosts its world famous wine festival that normally runs from the end of August into the first two weeks of September. More than just wine tasting, the festival is a celebration of local foods, traditional dance and music. Wine is often drawn from the barrel too!
The Goddess of Love - Aphrodite - is celebrated in Paphos in September also, and on October 1st each year, Cyprus celebrates its day of independence. November and December see opera and theatre take over the festival mantle until December 25th and the festivities of Christmas.