Ioannina’s Hoteliers Promote Local Carnival Customs to Attract Visitors
The Ioannina Regional Hotel Association (IRHA) recently teamed up with the northwestern Greek city’s “Orfeas” theater school and its regional craftsmen and merchants federation to visually promote local Greek carnival (“Apokries” in Greek) customs and attract visitors to the destination.
The collaboration’s result is a four-minute TV spot titled “I want Tzamales”, in which the local carnival custom of “tzamales” is presented through short dialogue as “an experience not to be missed”.
Commenting on the video’s production, IRHA President Stathis Sioutis expressed his gratitude for the hard work and commitment all parties involved in the video’s creation.
“Ioannina has already become a popular and recognizable destination, but there is still much to be done to support the local economy,” Sioutis said.
According to IRHA’s president, by promoting local carnival customs and traditions the city can attract even more visitors and increase revenue for local businesses.
This year’s Greek carnival season is the first one running without any Covid-19 restrictions since 2019, and its revived celebrations, including Ioannina’s “tzamales” custom, are seen by many as a welcoming addition to the Clean Monday (“Kathara Deytera”) three-day weekend (February 25-27).
The “tzamales” custom refers to a more than 100-year-old tradition where every neighborhood in Ioannina and its surrounding towns and villages launches a bonfire during the early evening hours of the Sunday preceding the Clean Monday holiday, which marks the first day of the Greek Orthodox 40-day fasting season.
The fire, which is kept strong up to the early hours of Clean Monday, sees locals participate in outdoor parties full of circular group traditional dancing and music, accompanied by wine and “tsipouro” (a strong Greek distilled spirit) drinking and tasting various recipes of the national Greek soup of “fasolada” that contains dry white beans, olive oil, and vegetables.
According to local tourism stakeholders, the Ioannina carnival custom of “tzamales” is a fun, cultural attraction that can be combined with an excursion to the local ski centers or the celebrations of Clean Monday and sees hundreds of families visiting rural areas to compete in kite-flying and taste local vegan delicacies.
The “I want Tzamales” video (in Greek) is available for viewing below.