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National Congress Theme: Apokries

Information written by Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

In a nutshell, Apokries is Greece’s token Carnival which allows Greeks to indulge and celebrate before the 40 day fast (Sarakosti) leading up to Orthodox Easter. It takes place over three weeks: week one is ‘’Profoni’’ (the. Pre-announcement), week two is the ‘’Kreatini’’ (Meat Week) and week three is called ‘’Tyrofagou’’ (literally meaning, ‘’cheese-eater’’).

Apokries also follows various traditions set on certain days such as Tsiknopempti (literally ‘’smelly’’ or ‘’smokey’’ Thursday) where Greeks prepare plethoras of meat dishes and venture off to the bars dressed up in absolutely any type of attire that their hearts desire. The festival generally places emphasis on the attributes of masquerade and mystery to enable freedom of expression as well as personal amusement.

Hence, Apokries is a time in which pranks and merriment are in excess. On the last Sunday just before Kathari Deftera (Clean Monday), there are grand carnival extravaganzas with parties, concerts and parades that take place all over Greece and their finales usually involve the burning of an effigy – the Carnival King. They say that Apokries dates back to the Ancient Greek festivals celebrating Dionysos, the god of wine and fertility, and the ‘’rebirth’’ of flora at the end of winter. Either way, we’d sign up for it in a heartbeat.

Style tips:

Some attendees tend to adopt the frivolous clown/court jester style of the carnival, but since the festival prides itself on disguise and anonymity, people are encouraged transform into anyone/anything that entices them.

Have you always wanted to dress up as Jack Sparrow and run around cheering ‘’I’ve got a jar of dirt”? Now you can. Oh, you and your significant other feel like having a laugh and dressing up as ‘’bacon and eggs’’? This is the right time to do it! So you’ve just seen Gal Gadot play the role of Wonder Woman and now you’re like, totally obsessed? Yes, you can be her for a few hours until you start feeling lightheaded in that corset thing and your feet feel like they’re about to fall off from wearing those high heeled boots all night because Apokries = limitless style.

 

National Congress Theme: Oktoberfest

Article written by our wonderful, Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

Oktoberfest, which is held annually in Munich, Germany, is the world’s largest ‘’Volkfest’’ which includes a traveling funfair with loads of food and activities as well as the world renowned beer festival. This year, Oktoberfest is 207 years old and still going strong.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about Oktoberfest:

1. The first Oktoberfest was actually a wedding reception.

In 1810, the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig celebrated his 12th wedding to princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and invited all the people of Munich to attend. The newlyweds had so much fun that they opted to make their anniversary a yearly occurrence.

2. Bavarians call festival faders ‘’Bierleichen’’ i.e. the German word for ‘’Beer Corpses’’.

With Bavarian brews containing around 6-8% of alcohol and being stronger than the average German concoction, dehydration and passing out are prevalent.

3. War and disease got in the way of Oktoberfest 24 times.

Cholera epidemics in 1854 and 1873 and all the years of World War 1, World War 2 and the Franco-Prussian War were without celebrations.

4. If the name of the festival were a little more specific, we’d be calling it ‘’Septemberfest’’.

Yes, that’s right. Oktoberfest actually starts during mid-September and finishes right at the beginning of October.

5. Albert Einstein once worked there.

The theoretical physicist worked as an electrician at some point in his life and offered his services to set up one of the tents in 1896.

6. Paris Hilton is banned from there.

In 2006, the heiress attended the festival in a short dirndl (the traditional Oktoberfest attire for women) and wreaked havoc by promoting a brand of canned wine without any prior consultation with festival organizers whilst heavily intoxicated.

7. The lost and found boasts a variety of items.

Allegedly between 4000-5000 items are lost each year including passports, wedding rings, tickets to concerts and soccer matches, children, a Segway and a set of dentures.

8. The knot on the pinafore of a woman’s dirndl determines her status.

Beware of chatting up a woman whose knot is placed on the right; it means she’s either married or unavailable and you’re in trouble. A knot on the left means she’s single and ready to mingle.

Style tips:

Women tend to wear the traditional dirndl dress. If you don’t have one of those, a peasant blouse, a loose-fitting knee-length skirt and your grandmother’s frilly apron should maximize your authenticity. Men and women can also wear the traditional lederhosen which is a pair of brown leather shorts with suspenders that hold them up and a checkered shirt underneath. Bavarian hats, also known as Tyrolean hats, are widely worn. If all else fails, wearing any beer or German related outfit would certainly suffice at an Oktoberfest themed party.

National Congress Theme: Cinco De Mayo

Article written by our wonderful, Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

On 5 May every year, Americans drink several shots of tequila in honor of the time when 4000 very inexperienced Mexican soldiers defeated 6500 French soldiers who were well equipped and skilled in the art of war. Yes, Cinco de Mayo, which directly translates to ’’the fifth of May’’ commemorates the day (5 May 1862) of the improbable victory of the Mexican over the French at the Battle of Puebla.
Here are five facts about Cinco de Mayo that you may not know:
  • It’s not actually that ‘’important’’ in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo is only really celebrated in the city of Pueblo where the battle took place and is more widely celebrated in the US. This is mostly due to the efforts of president Franklin Roosevelt to improve relations between US and Latin American countries by enacting the ‘’Good Neighbour’’ policy.

  • Mexico didn’t win that war.
Despite the Battle of Pueblo being a David-and-Goliath-esque moment, France eventually won the war and occupied Mexican territory for five years.
  • Americans consume around 81 million avocados on Cinco De Mayo.

This statistic was released by the California Avocado Commission in 2012 (yes, California has its own Avocado Commission). That’s a lot of guac.

  • Margarita sales skyrocket on 5 May in the USA.

Bloomberg has calculated that roughly 2.9 Billion dollars is spent by Americans to celebrate Mexico’s small victory and this equates to around 14% of annual cocktail sales.

  • Chihuahuas feature substantially in the festivities.

The city of Chandler in Arizona, hosts chihuahua races. There is even a chihuahua beauty contest at the Longmont festival in Colorado.

Style tips:

Cinco de Mayo is about fun and festivity and your attire should reflect that accordingly. If you’re looking to go all out, throw on a sombrero, a poncho or an ostentatious flower headdress. If you want to be more subtle, incorporate color, flamboyance, Mexican embroidery and off-the-shoulder styles to your outfit.