In the list of fun things to do in Odessa (Ukraine), a separate position take specific city-wide holidays. One of these holidays is Humorina, which carries on April 1 during world day of fools. This holiday arose in early 1970s as an action by a small group of local comedians. Today it is a big city event that includes clowns festival, concerts, invited guest and grandstand passing through old city.
Humorina, or as people say – First of April, includes a variety of city events. What things to see in odessa can be interesting for tourists in Humorina? First of all, this is a large city parade, passing through the central streets. Parade is a procession of a large column on mobile platforms with thematic installations created by various teams. Platforms and posters are painted with various comical slogans, either simply funny or mocking everyday. Сarnival procession begins at 12:00 on Cathedral Square, then moves along Deribasovskaya Street, then through Pushkinskaya Street goes to Primorsky boulevard, and ends at Ekaterininskaya Square.
During the days of Humorina comes a lot of music bands, as well as famous humorists, to participate in the festive show near Potemkin Stairs. What can you see here? First of all, concerts of musical groups under open air. Concert program usually includes performances of well-known Ukrainian comic groups, as well as karaoke, right on the square near Duke de Richelieu. Also there is a fair of street food, as well as special photo zones with retro cars or something else. These days you can buy special souvenir products dedicated to April Fools’ day.
Among other things to see in Odessa is worth noting performances and a program organized by comic troupe The Masks. This is a well-known collective of the house of clowns, who usually organizes professional clown performances on Humorina. In addition to its own program, the clown house organizes an International Festival of Clowns and Mimes – Comediada.
Comediada festival starts little early than Humorina and lasting for a week. During this time in House of Clowns of Odessa take places various concerts, performed by clowns and mimes from different countries. In 2019 Clowns festival will start on 27 of March and continue until 1 of April. During the festival you able to see professional clown art as in House of Clown, or on open air scene during April Fools’ day. Searching for a dates of festival events, visit official Comediada webpage.
Traditionally, a participant can become everyone who on this day will appear in downtown in original appearance. It can be a whole suit, rented or made by hand. Such characters are very popular and everyone can easily make foto with them. Some, just to join the holiday, dress clown red noses, or wigs, blowing in pipes and create all sorts of noise. All this various props are usually sold throughout the city. Some people prefer to make an original makeup on their face with special paints. So everyone participates in city fun.
The history of Humorina Odessa carnival as a city holiday begins in 1973, when Odessa team CCR (a club of cheerful and resourceful) comes up with a festival of laughter. Then appeared a permanent logo of festival – a cheerful sailor in life ring, whose author was an artist – Arkady Tsykun. First slogan of Yumorin then was a joking cry “citizens, think, did you do everything for appearance of a million inhabitant in the city?” So team joking around question discussed in the press: whether there is a million inhabitants in Odessa or not.
First humor included some special eccentricities, for example, a descent down Potemkin stairs on skis of famous captain of CCR team – Yaroslav Kharchenko, or down the stairs inside soviet car of famous taxist Yefim Vydomky. By 1976, this holiday had acquired such proportions that Soviet authorities, frightened by uncontrolled mass of people on the streets, officially forbids this holiday. Ten years latter, and during “perestroika” Humorina started again. Since that Odessa celebrates First of April as a day of laughter.
Looking for what to see in Odessa in the days of Humorina, remember that a large number of people on the street can be a bit drunk, because alcohol sells everywhere. Be careful and do not get into unnecessary conflicts.