"The Carnival celebrations of Kastoria (The Ragoutsaria) date from the ancient times as they were part of the Dionysian orgiastic rites. They would take place in the middle of winter after the 25th of December - the celebration for the birth of the Sun - to honour Nature for regenerating Spring. The Ragoutsaria complete the twelve-day celebration with their unique regional customs of Kastoria which go back to the first inhabitants of the area, the Dorians. They are a remainder of the original Greek carnival festivities, something which is rather rare, and not part of the foreign Carnival celebrations on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of January.
All the residents of Kastoria, men and women, take part in the celebrations. From different neighbourhoods they form groups, each group with its own band, and celebrate in a frenzy - like atmosphere, regardless of their social status. The variety of music instruments is interesting as apart from the traditional ones, the bagpipes and the 'zournades', from the early 1900s the bands started having more percurssions - the 'takoumia' , and more wind instruments, remnant of the military bands that would occasionally stop by the city. The whole scene reminds us of the time when the big brass bands of New Orleans in the USA had created and established internationally jazz music."