Saturday, May 07, 2005


I thought perhaps the annual May Day parade was cancelled this year, since Greek Easter fell on May 1st. In fact I'd quite forgotten about it until about 10am this morning, when the most awful racket of drums and trumpets started up. I didn't even go out to look, since I knew what it would be. It's the only parade that actually goes down the street next to ours, to and fro at least four times.

Cyprus is very keen on parades, we're not entirely sure why. They have them for several national days, and on Good Friday, and at Epiphany, as well as flower festivals and various other events or anniversaries. Daniel marches with the town band for some of the important ones, and he can't really see the point either. There always seem to be school groups, and the Scouting organisations, and sometimes army people too, walking along the streets in uniform. Marching is a euphemism, really, since many of them are unable to keep time with the drums or other music, and those that do don't seem to care much.

There are usually crowds watching these parades, but as Dan pointed out somewhat cynically, the majority are probably proud parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who turn out to see their little Andreas or Elena marching. Of course there are always a few tourists, too, slightly bemused but enjoying something quaintly cultural. When we first arrived we watched a couple of parades out of interest, then when Dan joined the band we watched a few more... these days we don't tend to bother.

And we certainly weren't very interested in the communist Party parade this morning, which didn't even have real musicians - just a blaring fanfare on one or two notes, and a load of drums going BOOM! BOOM! BOOM-BOOM BOOM!


Lora said...

I think a love of parades is a Mediteranian thing. We have a lot of ethnic neighborhoods in the North East that love to carry on this tradition and it seems to be less about having spectators and more about participation.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the love of parades has something to do with the power of Communist party in this country. Parades are a common attribute of many countries, which had strong communists - Russia, Korea, China...