Gerani is a quiet little village near Rethymno – except for one special day of the year. Here’s more about the Camel Parade of Gerani.
The Camel Parade of Gerani
Gerani has always been a quiet village just like most quaint non-touristy villages in Crete. However, there is one day of the year when a colorful and joyous festival gathers locals to sing, dance, eat, celebrate Greek Carnival traditions and be merry.
More About the Camel Parade Near Rethymnon
For more than a century, the residents of this traditional village just outside of Rethymnon dress up in desert-like garb and pull life size, camel floats through the village lanes. There’s dancing in the streets and down the alleys. Houses along the way open up their doors and their owners offer raki (local anise flavored liquor) to anyone who passes by. The town and local church offer free food and there are contests as well as plenty of Greek dancing and singing.
This tradition is part of one of the many Clean Monday events that go on throughout Crete and it is very special to Rethymnon. If you happen to be in the village you can follow the parade and see how children love to pull and ride the creative camel floats. You’ll see how hospitable the Gerani residents are as they offer you to sit on their balconies, watch the parade and have a drink with them.
At the end of the parade, everyone crowds in the main square where volunteers offer traditional Cretan dishes and foods including lagana, which is unleavened holiday bread that is topped with sesame seeds. You’ll also find Greek salad, halva, olives, octopus cooked with macaroni.
Visit a Cretan Village: Gerani, Crete
If you aren’t in Gerani during the Carnival holiday you can still visit Gerani for a quaint, authentic travel experience in a Greek village. You can freely explore Gerani which has its share of local, full-time residents. Besides a local bakery and tavern, you can also head to a local beach near the village bridge. There’s also a small harbor where the little church can be found. Other villages to visit on Clean Monday in Rethymnon include Armeni and Melidoni.
If you love visiting Greek villages, be sure to check out our earlier posts about Spili, Argyroupolis and Margarites.