I love this time of year in Cyprus! Over the last month the tourist areas have become a hive of activity as restaurants, hotels and bars prepare to reopen after the winter. Carnival, Green Monday and the bank holidays, Easter and the anticipation of the summer season just around the corner gives us a spring in our step and a sense of optimism.
It all begins with Tsiknopempti (which literally translates to 'Thursday of the smoke of grilled meat', due to the gorgeous aroma of meat being barbequed all over the island). It's not widely celebrated by many expats here, I knew nothing about it until the boys started school but for me it now marks the start of the celebrations.
Last year I joined Leo at school to watch the celebrations and enjoy the BBQ laid on the for the parents, staff and children. This year Leo is in big school and once again I went in to join the fun. It was a little strange as I was (as always) the only English Mum there, but also seemed to be the only person without a job. (and I did check if I could do anything!) It was surprising when all parents and grandparents had been invited!
Leo was pleased to have me there though, and that's the main thing, although I wonder how long he will be happy with that in the coming years!
The kids loved the morning - and its easy to see why. No lessons, no uniform, just a morning of games in the playground, dancing, songs and a BBQ.
After Tsiknopempti comes Carnival!
For the last three years we have taken part in the parade which was great fun but it does mean that you miss out on seeing all the fantastic floats and groups in the procession. This year we watched it for the first time with both boys and they loved it all.
I love the atmosphere of carnival day, the people, the colour and the music. The boys were dressed in their current favourite costumes of Darth Vader and Spiderman and we raided the photo booth props to accessorize with some silly hats and glasses.