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Greeks do not save money from masquerade costumes, regardless of the crisis

06 March 2011 / 17:03:14  GRReporter
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Victoria Mindova

Regardless of the forecasts for rain, blizzards and bad weather, the sun smiled over Athens this Sunday and allowed Greeks to embark on a carnival mood in the last weekend before Lent. The traditional Patras carnival once again gathered more than 30,000 enthusiasts from all corners of Greece as well as foreigners, who came with one goal – masquerade, fun and all day and all night dancing. For all those, however, who failed to reach the Peloponnesian city, mayors and municipalities in local areas organized celebrations with costumes and a very good mood. 

Special ball for children was organized in the Central Zapio Park in the capital, where young and old came dressed as princes, princesses, witches, fairies, bees, ladybirds, Batman, Spiderman or many other fairy tale characters, either from the classic tales, the last cartoons or comic hits. 

Costumes and dressing up on Ash Sunday is a great event especially for the young ones in the family. The hectic preparation of costumes starts from mid-February. In most cases, people buy ready-made costumes from seasonal shops, while others prefer to make the children's costumes themselves. 

"My younger son is dressed as a spinning-top and my older one is Batman," says the proud 32-year-old Natalia, mother of 6-year-old Dimitris and 3-year-old Yiannis. She explained that the spinning-top costume was her idea and was given to be done by a seamstress. Little Dimitrakis had no problem with the costume since he loves the colors and is constantly in moving around, so the choice was easy. The costume was also much cheaper than ready-made ones. When it comes to Batman, however, things are different. This costume came out to be more expensive and the family paid for it whole 40 Euros. "He was Spiderman for three years in a row so now I could not not buy him a new costume," says Natalia. 

It turned out that the economic crisis did not have the expected effect on costume prices, since there was an increase, say citizens. 39-year-old Vasiliki complained that she bought a parade wig for 20 Euros from a seasonal shop on Ermou street in the capital, and then she saw the same wig in Sklaveniti supermarket, just for seven Euros. "These seasonal stores look for the quick profit and not quality," lamented Vasiliki. 

Seasonal stores are shopping centers, where every few months marketable goods are changed according to the nature of the Christian holiday that lies ahead. On Christmas they sell artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, garlands, and other small things. Right before Saint Valentine’s Day they sell love cards, balloons, stuffed toys and other gifts for lovers. After that those stores fill up with parade costumes for Ash Sunday, and then they change their products with Easter decorations and gifts for the celebrations around the resurrection of Christ. In May the air smells of sea and seasonal shops are filled with life-belts, floats, marine glasses, and any other needed and unneeded things for your beach and summer vacation. And so, again and again each year. 

Until recently, seasonal stores were the only place from where one could buy a carnival costume, but lately supermarkets and large chain toys stores started to offer similar costumes. Katerina, the mother of 4-year-old found Orestis, found a cowboy costume with a hat, bodice, and pants with fringe for 30 Euros, but another mother complained that a police uniform costume for her son cost 50 Euros. Another young family found a good, lower price for a Sylvester – the famous cat from Looney Tunes by Warner Bros. - costume for their four-year-old boy for 25 Euros and it even came with a hot to keep to young by warm. 

For better or worse dressing up on Ash Sunday is one of the most favorite days of the year for young children, so parents do not save money or ingenuity to make them happy.

Tags: Greece costumes Lent Ash Sunday Easter shopping
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