Until 1982, the Rethymnian Carnival was organized by the Rethymno Touring Club with the support of the Municipality of Rethymno as well as Chania, Heraklion, and Agios Nikolaos, and with the participation of the Municipal Philharmonic of Rethymno, as well as those of Chania, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, and the involvement of all citizens. In 1983, the Municipality of Rethymno took over as the official organizer of the events, maintaining close cooperation with the Touring Club.

Indeed, 1983 was the best year of the Carnival, with 17 floats participating and the Municipal Philharmonic of Heraklion providing the musical accompaniment for the parade. The grand parade was postponed in 1984 due to severe flooding that struck the city of Rethymno, causing incalculable material damage. The following year, despite the freezing cold, the carnival was held as usual, with carnival-goers enjoying themselves immensely. Those years, a cash prize was even awarded by the Municipality for the best floats.

That year was also the last year of the Carnival. It would enter a long period of introspection and inactivity until 1992.

Carnival parade in the 1980s in front of the greengrocers. (Kanas Family Archive)

Poster for the 1983 carnival.

The Municipal Philharmonic at the last carnival of 1985. (Dimitris Delimpasis Archive)


After the 1985 carnival, a significant confrontation occurred between the Touring Club and the Mayor of Rethymno, and the carnival was suspended for a whole 7 years.

Specifically, after the Carnival, Kostas Kanas along with Michalis Karadakis (Kara), who had been actively involved in the Carnival during those years, visited the Mayor to discuss the organization of the next Carnival. Michalis Karas asked the Mayor for some basic improvements, most importantly, to improve the road surface for the floats to parade comfortably. There was a heated verbal altercation, and Kostas Kanas, feeling disappointed by the Municipality's attitude towards people who had contributed so much to the institution, announced that the Touring Club would no longer participate in organizing the Carnival.

Carnival parade at the beach. (Rethymno Touring Club Archive)

The only carnival event during those years of suspension was the Touring Club's grand dance on the last Sunday of Carnival.


In 1991, Michalis Karas and his friends attempted to revive the Rethymnian Carnival. They made improvised cannons that fired paper confetti, and journalist Maria Petraki announced on the radio that "terrorists" would be in Rethymno. Every hour, the radio would play the spot: "The 'terrorists' will come down to terrorize Rethymno with their bombs." Thus, the carnival group "TERRORISTS" was created, participating in the following carnivals with satirical floats.

Michalis Karas remembers from that first carnival: "On Saturday night, I prayed for heavy rain to ruin everything because we wouldn't be able to go down from exhaustion the next day. I was in tears. The next day, over a thousand people in costumes showed up! The police came to escort the crowd. We didn't expect it! We went down to the city, we had made bombs, and it was chaos! We, four people, dressed with socks on our faces like terrorists. We made only one float with four themes on it. We made the dragon that ate the carnival king and wrote on the dragon who was responsible for the carnival's interruption. Manolis Skevakis had made the Old Town with apartment buildings opening their mouths to eat it, while garbage bags were everywhere. With cardboard, wood, and iron we found on the street, we made these. On the same float, we made the Unknown Soldier, a proper statue with one hand holding a gun and the other his nose, as the area stank of sewage at the time. The people loved it. The fourth theme was Bucephalus, because the Macedonian issue was in the news at the time. We had a Zastava car turned into a horse. On its side was designed the entire route of Alexander the Great, with his suitcases, sarissas, shields on top, and an ancient Greek dressed as Alexander driving."


Following the success of this first anti-carnival and the spontaneous participation of the public, the organizers visited the then Mayor Dimitris Archontakis and asked him to revive the Rethymnian Carnival under the auspices of the Municipality.

significant events of the Rethymnian Carnival period. The great response to the treasure hunt and the organized teams that were formed led the Municipality of Rethymno to call these teams to support the Carnival to stand on its feet again. Thus, in 1993, a new chapter began for the Rethymnian Carnival, in the form we know it today.

Text: Nikos Deredakis.