The relationship between Carnival and the ancient Dionysian Mysteries is well known and widely accepted. Dionysus was born in Arcadia. And with him the theatre was born. Tragedy has its origins in the religious troupes of Dionysus. By using masks the initiates are not just simply playing God, they became God himself.
The Dionysian cult designated religiosity to Arcadia. A special priest order, the Meliastes, were assigned the duty of apportioning the holy wine. Female orders, the famous Mainades, from whom Mainalo takes its name, honoured their beloved God with nocturnal rituals.
At exactly the same time we celebrate Carnival, the Bacchae poured out to the mountains and the rivers for feasts honouring life itself with its annual cycle. The charming Dionysus guarded the sacred intoxication which was to purify each person individually as well as the entire community.
Carnival in Arcadia has kept all the authentic primeval rituals. It’s worth coming here to join in this great festival that intimates the coming of Spring and the triumph of life.