Missed Mardi Gras this year? There's still time to put your flamboyant pink, green, blue and green costumes on and dance.
That's because Greek Orthodox Mardi Gras, Lent and Easter are about a month behind other churches. Its use of the modified Julian calendar gives you a second chance to party like it's Feb. 12, 2013.
St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church of South Orange County will host its third annual Mardi Gras Apokries event March 16 at Family Classic Cars in San Juan Capistrano.
The church's board devised the event a few years ago, "while trying to come up with creative fundraising activities and especially activities that tie in to our Greek heritage and Greek Orthodox traditions,” said event coordinator Steve Dafnis, one of the church's founders. “Myself and E.J. Constatine offered to chair the first event, and it has grown ever since.”
Last year, the Apokries, or carnival season in Greece, more than 300 attendees, besting the numbers each year since the event started.
"There is a core of local Greek or Greek Orthodox people who attend local Greek festivals and other events," said Dafnis. The hefty attendance can be partly attributed to these fun-chasing Greeks.
“Our goals are to raise funds for our church’s ministries and to grow our parish,” Dafnis said. “The event will raise money. If we can also add a few new families to our parish, the event will have been a success.”
Attendees come cloaked in full Mardi Gras garb and enjoy a night filled with Greek everything: salads, fruits, traditional dishes, a band and dancing, homemade pastries and other activities that range from a casino night to face-painting.
Mardi Gras itself means “Fat Tuesday” in French, and involves feasting upon fatty, rich foods the last night before fasting for the Lenten season beginning on Ash Wednesday.
Prizes will be given for the best child and adult Mardi Gras costumes and casino chips can be traded for raffle tickets.
“We are still gathering prizes, but for last year’s event we had autographed footballs, weekend hotel stays, electronics, coupons for local tan, meals and auto detailing,” said Dafnis. “We expect to have great prizes for this year’s event as well.”
St. Basil has only been in San Juan Capistrano for nine years but belongs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which has 540 parishes and 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians nationwide.