Kastoria, Greece – Ragoutsaria is the name of the Kastorian Carnival that takes place from January 6th to the 8th. It is an ancient celebration/revival of ancient Dionysian rites and rebirth of Kronos (Saturnalia), and despite a long lasting ban during Byzantine years has somehow managed to survive.
The word “Ragoutsaria” is derived from the Latin word “Rogatores” that means beggars! During the Ragoutsaria, locals and thousands of visitors form bands and are disguised as sheep, goats (and other animals), the opposite sex and other figures. Wine is available everywhere according to the Dionysian celebrations. The bands are called “bouloukia” (crowds). The people taking part in Ragoutsaria knock at the doors to ask for wine, food and money to consume during the last night of the carnival. They are accompanied by local folk artists with brass instruments playing Balkan music. On the last day of event, a huge parade known as “bouloukia” starts at Omonia Square and ends in Doltso Street where a big feast takes place.