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Carnival

Carnival

Overview
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

 combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade
Masquerade ball
A masquerade ball is an event which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. - History :...

 during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnaval is a festival traditionally held in Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies.
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Encyclopedia
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

 combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade
Masquerade ball
A masquerade ball is an event which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. - History :...

 during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnaval is a festival traditionally held in Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 areas usually do not have carnaval celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnaval or other Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday is a term used in English-speaking countries, especially in Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Germany, and parts of the United States for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent.The...

 events. The Brazilian Carnaval is one of the best-known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events. The Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 is the biggest carnaval in the world
World
World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth....

, and the biggest popular party on the planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

, according to The Guinness Book of World Records 2010. The Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 Carnaval is also considered the world's most famous.

History


The Lenten period of the Liturgical year Church calendar, being the six weeks directly before Easter, was marked by fasting and other pious or penitential practices. Traditionally during Lent, no parties or other celebrations were held, and people refrained from eating rich foods, such as meat, dairy, fats and sugar. The forty days of Lent, recalling the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 accounts of the forty days that Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 spent in the wilderness, serve to mark an annual time of turning. In the days before Lent, all rich food and drink had to be disposed of. The consumption of this, in a giant party that involved the whole community, is thought to be the origin of Carnaval.

While it forms an integral part of the Christian calendar, particularly in Catholic regions, some carnaval traditions may date back to pre-Christian times. The ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia
Saturnalia
Saturnalia is an Ancient Roman festival/ celebration held in honour of Saturn , the youngest of the Titans, father of the major gods of the Greeks and Romans, and son of Uranus and Gaia...

 and Bacchanalia
Bacchanalia
The bacchanalia were wild and mystic festivals of the Greco-Roman god Bacchus , the wine god. The term has since come to describe any form of drunken revelry.-History:...

 may possibly have been absorbed into the Italian Carnaval. The Saturnalia, in turn, may be based on the Greek Dionysia
Dionysia
The Dionysia[p] was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia...

 and Oriental festivals. While medieval pageants and festivals such as Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi (feast)
Corpus Christi is a Latin Rite solemnity, now designated the solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ . It is also celebrated in some Anglican, Lutheran and Old Catholic Churches. Like Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of Christ the King, it does not commemorate a particular event in...

 were church-sanctioned celebrations, carnaval was also a manifestation of medieval folk culture. Many local carnaval customs are based on local pre-Christian rituals, for example the elaborate rites involving masked figures in the Swabian-Alemannic carnaval.

Some of the best-known traditions, including carnaval parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

s and masquerade ball masquerading, were first recorded in medieval Italy. The carnaval of Venice was for a long time the most famous carnaval. From Italy, carnaval traditions spread to the Catholic nations of Spain, Portugal, and France. From France, they spread to the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 of Germany, and to New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

 in North America. From Spain and Portugal, they spread with Catholic colonization to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Other areas have developed their own traditions. In the United Kingdom, West Indian immigrants brought with them the traditions of Caribbean Carnaval, however the Carnavals now celebrated at Notting Hill, London; Leeds, Yorkshire, and other places have become divorced from their cycle in the religious year, becoming purely secular events, that take place in the summer months.

Etymology


The origin of the name "carnaval" is disputed, between those that have argue a link with the Italian word "carne" (meat), and those that argue a link with the word "carrus" (car). The link with carne would suggest an origin within Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, while the link with carro with earlier religions.

From carne levare


Those that argue for the origin from "carne," point to variants in Italian dialects that would suggest that the name comes from the Italian carne levare or similar, meaning "to remove meat", since meat is prohibited during Lent.

From carne vale


Folk etymologies exist which state that the word comes from the Late Latin
Late Latin
Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of Late Antiquity. The English dictionary definition of Late Latin dates this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD extending in Spain to the 7th. This somewhat ambiguously defined period fits between Classical Latin and Medieval Latin...

 expression carne vale, which means "farewell to meat", signifying that those were the last days when one could eat meat before the fasting of Lent. The word carne may also be translated as flesh, so suggesting carne vale as "a farewell to the flesh", a phrase actually embraced by certain carnaval celebrants who encourage letting go of your former (or everyday) self and embracing the carefree nature of the festival. However, explanations proceeding from carne vale seem to be folk etymologies and are not supported by philological
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 evidence.

From carrus navalis


Other scholars argue for the origin from the Roman name for the festival of the Navigium Isidis
Navigium Isidis
The Navigium Isidis or Isidis Navigium was an annual ancient Roman religious festival in honor of the goddess Isis. The festival outlived Christian persecution by Theodosius and Arcadius' persecution against the Roman religion.In the Roman Empire, it was still celebrated in Italy at least until...

(ship of Isis), where the image of Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 was carried to the sea-shore to blessing the start of the sailing season. The festival consisted in a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, that would reflect the floats
Floats
Floats are a beverage line introduced by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in January 2008. Two flavors are available, A&W Float and Sunkist Float. The purpose of the concept is to mimic the flavor of an ice cream float of a given soda...

 of modern carnavals. Modern carnaval shares resemblances with the Navigium Isidis
Navigium Isidis
The Navigium Isidis or Isidis Navigium was an annual ancient Roman religious festival in honor of the goddess Isis. The festival outlived Christian persecution by Theodosius and Arcadius' persecution against the Roman religion.In the Roman Empire, it was still celebrated in Italy at least until...

.

Indonesia


On Saturday evening June 25th 2011, the main street of Solo in Central Java turned into a massive Runway as the 4th edition of Solo Batik Carnaval was staged before enthusiastic spectators. Presenting “The Amazing Legend” as its main theme, the carnaval left thousands thrilled as the parade passed by showing a large variety of the most extravagant batik fashions.

Crowds cramped the sidewalks along the 3,7 km Slamet Riyadi Street long before the parade started. Anticipation rose further an hour before the carnaval was due to commence, as crowds filled not only the sidewalks but spilled over to the main street. Officers in charge and the police were kept busy clearing the street and managing the highly enthusiastic multitude.

At exactly 19.30 Western Indonesia Time, the carnaval began its fantastic parade starting from the Purwosari Street. Thundering applause and roaring oohs and aahs broke from the special viewing stages and the sidewalk of the Slamet Riyadi Street as the parade passed. The colorful batik fashions and attractive choreography simply hypnotized the viewers who seemed to be absorbed into the Javanese legends presented.

Through the various colors, motives and style, the carnaval highlighted four of the most renowned Javanese folk-legends: the Andhe-andhe lumut, Ratu Kencana Wungu, Ratu Laut Selatan (The tale of the Queen of the South Seas), and the romantic tale of Roro Jongrang that led to the creation of the Prambanan Temple. The event was also highlighted by the appearance of four winners of the Miss Indonesia beauty pageant : Nadine Alexandra Dewi, Inda Adeliani, Alessandra K Usman, and Reisa Kartikasari.

The event was also attended by the Mayor of Solo, Joko Widodo, and vice Mayor Hadi Rudyatmo, who both followed the parade on foot from the start to the finish-line at the Solo City Hall, wearing distinguished costumes normally worn only by the nobility.

As a tradition that has flourished for many generations, the art of Batik is inseparable from Javanese culture. Symbolizing gracefulness and precision in its creation, the intricate fabric of Batik itself is the epitome of Javanese elegance, balance and philosophy.

And as the seat of Javanese culture and tradition, the city of Solo possesses some of the best examples of Batik Keraton or Royal Batik, an artistic tradition that has been passed down since the ancient Javanese kingdoms. Its close proximity to Yogyakarta and world heritage sites such as the Borobudur and Prambanan Temples has made Solo the perfect location to celebrate the everlasting Javanese creative tradition of Batik.

India


In India, Carnaval is celebrated on a grand scale in the state of Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

. In Goa, Carnaval is known as 'Intruz' (from the Portuguese word Entrudo, an alternative name for Carnaval), and the largest celebration takes place in the city of Panaji. The Carnaval is unique to Goa in India, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for over four centuries.
The carnaval is celebrated for three days and nights, when the legendary King Momo takes over the state and the streets come alive with music and color. Huge parades are organized throughout the state with bands, dances and floats out all night on the streets, and grand balls held in the evenings.

Belgium


Many parts of Belgium celebrate Carnaval, typically with costume parades, partying and fireworks. These areas include Heist
Heist
A heist is a term used to describe a robbery from an institution such as a bank or a museum, or any robbery in which there is a large haul of loot.Heist in fiction may refer to:*Heist , directed by David Mamet...

, Binche
Binche
Binche is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006 Binche had a total population of 32,409. The total area is 60.66 km² which gives a population density of 534 inhabitants per km²...

, Aalst
Aalst, Belgium
Aalst is a city and municipality on the Dender River, 19 miles northwest from Brussels. It is located in the Flemish province of East Flanders in the Denderstreek. The municipality comprises the city of Aalst itself and the villages of Baardegem, Erembodegem, Gijzegem, Herdersem, Hofstade,...

, Eupen
Eupen
Eupen is a municipality in the Belgian province of Liège, from the German border , from the Dutch border and from the "High Fens" nature reserve...

, Malmedy
Malmedy
Malmedy is a municipality of Belgium. It lies in the country's Walloon Region, Province of Liège. It belongs to the French Community of Belgium, within which it is French-speaking with facilities for German-speakers. On January 1, 2006 Malmedy had a total population of 11,829...

 and Kelmis
Kelmis
Kelmis is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. On January 1, 2006, Kelmis had a total population of 10,396...

.

The Carnaval of Binche has a history dating back at least to the 16th century. Parades are held over the three days before Lent; the most important participants are the Gilles
Gilles
The Gilles are the oldest and principal participants in the Carnival of Binche in Belgium. Other cities, such as Nivelles have a tradition of Gilles at carnival, but the Carnival of Binche is by far the most famous....

, who go out in traditional costumes on Shrove Tuesday and throw blood orange
Blood orange
The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange; its skin is usually pitted, but can be smooth. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but...

s to the crowd. In 2003, the Carnaval of Binche was recognised as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity was made by the Director-General of UNESCO starting in 2001 to raise awareness on intangible cultural heritage and encourage local communities to protect them and the local people who sustain these forms of cultural...

. The Carnaval at Aalst, which is celebrated for the full week preceding Ash Wednesday, is expected to receive the same recognition in 2010.

Some Belgian cities hold carnavals later during Lent. One of the best-known is Stavelot
Stavelot
Stavelot is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. On January 1, 2006, Stavelot had a total population of 6,671. The total area is 85.07 km² which gives a population density of 78 inhabitants per km².-History:...

, where the Carnaval de la Laetare takes place on Laetare Sunday
Laetare Sunday
Laetare Sunday , so called from the incipit of the Introit at Mass, "Laetare Jerusalem" , is a name often used to denote the fourth Sunday of the season of Lent in the Christian liturgical calendar...

, the fourth Sunday of Lent. The participants include the Blancs-Moussis, who dress in white with long red noses, and parade through town attacking bystanders with confetti
Confetti
Confetti is a multitude of pieces of paper, mylar or metallic material which is usually thrown at parades and celebrations, especially weddings . Confetti is made in a variety of colors, and commercially available confetti is available in imaginative shapes...

 and dried pig bladder
Pig bladder
Pig bladder is the bladder of a domestic pig, similar to the human urinary bladder. Today, this hollow organ has various applications in medicine, and in traditional cuisines and customs...

s. The town of Halle also celebrates on Laetare Sunday.

Bosnia and Herzegovina


In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city of Ljubuški
Ljubuški
Ljubuški is a town and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in thewestern part of Herzegovina.-1971:28.269 total* Croats - 26.198 * Muslims by nationality - 1.812 * Serbs - 118 * Yugoslavs - 49...

 holds a traditional carnaval . Ljubuški is a member of the Federation of European Carnaval Cities (FECC).

Croatia



The most famous Croatian carnaval (Croatian: "karneval", also called "maškare") is the Rijeka Carnaval, during which the mayor of Rijeka
Rijeka
Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third largest city in Croatia . It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,735 inhabitants...

 hands over the keys to the city to the Carnaval master ("meštar od karnevala") and the spirit of the Carnaval takes over completely. The festival includes several different events, culminating on the final Sunday in a masked procession including participants from many different countries. (A similar procession for children takes place on the previous day.)
Many other towns in Croatia's Kvarner region (and in other parts of the country) observe the Carnaval period, often incorporating local traditions and celebrating local culture. Just before the end of Carnaval, every Kvarner town burns a man-like doll
Effigy
An effigy is a representation of a person, especially in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional form.The term is usually associated with full-length figures of a deceased person depicted in stone or wood on church monuments. These most often lie supine with hands together in prayer,...

 called a "mesopust," who is blamed for all the strife of the previous year. Another famous tradition of "Karneval" are the Zvončari
Zvoncari
Zvončari is the characteristic folk custom maintained in the region around Rijeka, Croatia. Itt was added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009....

, or bell-ringers, who wear bells and large head regalia representing their areas of origin (for example, those from Halubje wear regalia in the shape of animal heads). The traditional Carnaval food is fritule
Fritule
Fritule is a festive Croatian pastry resembling little donuts, made particularly for Christmas. They are somewhat similar to Italian Zeppole, but are usually flavored with brandy and citrus zest, containing raisins, and are topped with powdered sugar....

, a pastry. This festival can also be called Poklade.

Masks are central to the Carnaval celebration, and worn to many of the festivities, including concerts and parties. Children and teachers are commonly allowed to wear masks to school for a day, and also wear masks at school dances or while trick-or-treating.
There are also summer carnavals. One of the most famous is the Senj Summer Carnaval - the first was 1968. and the tradition stayed. Many other towns in the surroundings also organise Summer Carnavals (Mali Lošinj, Pag, Novi Vinodolski, Fužine, etc.).

Cyprus


Carnaval has been celebrated on the island of Cyprus for centuries, and the tradition is believed to have been established under Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 rule around the 16th century. It may also have been influenced by Greek traditions, such as festivities for deities such as Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

. The celebration originally involved dressing in fancy costumes and holding masked balls or visiting friends. For approximately the past century, it has taken the form of an organized festival held during the 10 days preceding Lent (according to the Greek Orthodox calendar). The festival is celebrated almost exclusively in the city of Limassol
Limassol
Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus, with a population of 228,000 . It is the largest city in geographical size, and the biggest municipality on the island. The city is located on Akrotiri Bay, on the island's southern coast and it is the capital of Limassol District.Limassol is the...

.

Three main parades take place during Carnaval. The first is held on the first day, during which the "Carnaval King" (either a person in costume or an effigy
Effigy
An effigy is a representation of a person, especially in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional form.The term is usually associated with full-length figures of a deceased person depicted in stone or wood on church monuments. These most often lie supine with hands together in prayer,...

) rides through the city on his carriage. The second is held on the first Sunday of the festival and the participants are mainly children. The third and largest takes place on the last day of Carnaval, and involves hundreds of people walking in costume along the town's longest avenue. The latter two parades are open to anyone who wishes to participate.

Czech Republic


In the Czech Republic, the Masopust festival takes place from Epiphany
Epiphany (Christian)
Epiphany, or Theophany, meaning "vision of God",...

 (Den tří králů) through Ash Wednesday (Popeleční středa). The word masopust translates literally from old Czech to mean "meat fast", and the festival often includes a pork feast in preparation for Lent. The tradition is most common in Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 but does occur in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 as well. While practices vary from region to region, masks and costumes are present everywhere.

Denmark and Norway



Carnaval in Denmark is called Fastelavn, and is held on the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday. The holiday is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

, with children dressing in costume and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. One popular custom is the fastelavnsris, a switch that children use to flog
Flagellation
Flagellation or flogging is the act of methodically beating or whipping the human body. Specialised implements for it include rods, switches, the cat o' nine tails and the sjambok...

 their parents to wake them up on Fastelavns Sunday.

In Norway, students having seen celebrations in Paris introduced carnaval processions, masked balls and carnaval balls to Christiana in the 1840s and 1850s. From 1863, the artist federation kunstnerforeningen held annual carnaval balls in the old freemasons lodge, which inspired Johan Svendsen
Johan Svendsen
Johan Severin Svendsen was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist. Born in Christiania , Norway, he lived most his life in Copenhagen, Denmark....

s compositions "Norsk Kunstnerkarneval" and "Karneval in Paris". The following year, Svendsens Festpolonaise was written for the opening procession of the carnaval ball. Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 also attended the carnaval, and wrote "aus dem Karneval" (folkelivsbilleder Op. 19). After the Rococo Hall at Grand Hotel opened in 1894, annual balls in the carnaval season were arranged until the hall was destroyed in a fire in 1957. Since 1988, the student organization Tårnseilerne have produced annual masquerade balls in Oslo in the historical renovated freemasons lodge in the carnaval tradition, with masks, costumes and processions after attending an opera performance. The carnaval season also includes Fastelavens søndag (with cream buns) and fastelavensris with decorated branches.

England



The largest carnaval in England is Notting Hill carnaval. It is known to be one of the largest carnavals in the world, sometimes debated to be the largest in the world, but it has usually been suggested Rio de Janeiro the larger of the two. In England, the season immediately before Lent was called Shrovetide. It was a time for confessing sins
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

 (shriving) with fewer festivities than the Continental Carnavals. Today, Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday is a term used in English-speaking countries, especially in Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Germany, and parts of the United States for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent.The...

 is celebrated as Pancake Day, but little else of the Lent-related Shrovetide survived the 16th-century English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

. Possibly the only Shrovetide carnaval in the United Kingdom is celebrated in Cowes
Cowes
Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east Bank...

 and East Cowes
East Cowes
East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes....

 on the Isle of Wight; it is the first carnaval on the island's long and busy calendar.

France


The two major carnavals of France are the Nice Carnaval and the Paris Carnaval. The Nice Carnaval was held as far back as 1294, and is still held annually, attracting over a million visitors yearly during the two weeks preceding Lent. The Paris Carnaval occurs after the Feast of Fools
Feast of Fools
The Feast of Fools, known also as the festum fatuorum, festum stultorum, festum hypodiaconorum, or fête des fous, are the varying names given to popular medieval festivals regularly celebrated by the clergy and laity from the fifth century until the sixteenth century in several countries of Europe,...

 and dates back to the 16th century or earlier, although it was not held between 1952 and 1957.

Germany, Switzerland and Austria



Although the festival and party season in Germany starts on 11 November at 11:11 am, the actual Carnaval week begins on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. German Carnaval parades are held on the weekend before and especially on Rose Monday, and occasionally on Shrove Tuesday as well in the suburbs of larger cities. The carnaval session begins each year on 11 November at 11:11 am and finishes on Ash Wednesday with the main festivities occurring around Rosenmontag
Rosenmontag
Rosenmontag is the highlight of the German "Karneval" , and is on the Shrove Monday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The "Mardi Gras," though celebrated on Tuesday, is a similar event...

; this time is also called the "Fifth Season."

In German-speaking countries, two distinct varieties of Carnavals are held. The Rheinish Carnaval is held in the west of Germany, mainly in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, Rhineland Palatinate, and is famous for celebrations such as parades and costume balls. Cologne Carnaval is the largest and most famous. On Carnaval Thursday (called "Old Women Day" or "The Women's Day"), in commemoration of an 1824 revolt by washer-women, women storm city halls, cut men's ties, and are allowed to kiss any man who passes their way.

The "Swabian-Alemannic" carnaval, known as Fastnacht, takes place in Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

 and Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 (Southwestern Germany), Switzerland, Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 and Vorarlberg
Vorarlberg
Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area and population , it borders three countries: Germany , Switzerland and Liechtenstein...

 (Western Austria). It traditionally represents the time of year when the reign of the cold, grim winter spirits is over and these spirits are being hunted down and expelled.

Greece



The carnaval season in Greece is also known as the Apokriés (Greek: Αποκριές, "saying goodbye to meat"), or the season of the "Opening of the Triodion
Triodion
The Triodion , also called the Lenten Triodion , is the liturgical book used by the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine rite during Great Lent, the three preparatory weeks leading up to it, and during Holy Week.Many canons in the Triodion contain only three odes or...

", so named after the liturgical book used by the church from then until the Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

. One of the season's high points is Tsiknopémptẽ ("Smoke Thursday"), when celebrants enjoy roast beef
Roast beef
Roast beef is a dish of beef which is roasted in an oven. Essentially prepared as a main meal, the leftovers can be and are often served within sandwiches and sometimes is used to make hash...

 dinners at taverns or friends' homes; the ritual is repeated the following Sunday. The following week, the last before Lent, is called Tyrinē (Greek: Τυρινή, "cheese [week]") because eating meat is not allowed, but dairy
Dairy
A dairy is a business enterprise established for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats, but also from buffalo, sheep, horses or camels —for human consumption. A dairy is typically located on a dedicated dairy farm or section of a multi-purpose farm that is concerned...

 products are. The Great Lent begins on "Clean Monday
Clean Monday
Clean Monday , also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is the first day of the Eastern Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic Great Lent...

", the day after "Cheese Sunday". Throughout the carnaval season, people disguise themselves as maskarádes ("masqueraders") and engage in pranks and general revelry.

Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

 holds the largest annual carnaval in Greece; the famous Patras Carnaval is a 3-day spectacle replete with concerts, balles masqués
Masquerade ball
A masquerade ball is an event which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. - History :...

, parading troupes, floats
Float (parade)
A float is a decorated platform, either built on a vehicle or towed behind one, which is a component of many festive parades, such as those of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Carnival of Viareggio, the Maltese Carnival, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Key West Fantasy Fest parade, the...

, a treasure hunt
Treasure hunt
A treasure hunt is one of many different types of games which can have one or more players who try to find hidden articles, locations or places by using a series of clues. This is a fictional activity; treasure hunting can also be a real life activity. Treasure hunt games may be an indoor or...

 and many events for children. The grand parade of masked troupes and floats is held at noon on Tyrine Sunday, and culminates in the ceremonial burning of the effigy of King Carnaval at the Patras harbour.

In many other regions, festivities of smaller extent are organized, focused on the reenactment of traditional carnevalic customs; for example those held in Tyrnavos
Tyrnavos
Tyrnavos is a municipality in the Larissa regional unit, of the Thessaly region of Greece. Tyrnavos is the prefecture's third largest community within the Larissa prefecture. The town is near the mountains and the Thessalian Plain. The river Titarisios, a tributary of the Pineios, flows through...

 (Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

), Kozani
Kozani
Kozani is a city in northern Greece, capital of Kozani regional unit and of West Macedonia region. It is located in the western part of Macedonia, in the northern part of the Aliakmonas river valley...

 (West Macedonia
West Macedonia
West Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Greek Macedonia. It is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani.-Geography:...

), Rethymno
Rethymno
Rethymno is a city of approximately 40,000 people in Greece, the capital of Rethymno peripheral unit in the island of Crete. It was built in antiquity , even though was never a competitive Minoan centre...

 (Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

) and in Xanthi
Xanthi
Xanthi ; is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi peripheral unit of the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace.-History:...

 (East Macedonia and Thrace
East Macedonia and Thrace
East Macedonia and Thrace is one of the thirteen regions of Greece. It consists of the northeastern parts of the country, comprising the eastern part of the region of Macedonia along with the region of Thrace, and the islands of Thasos and Samothrace....

). Specifically Tyrnavos
Tyrnavos
Tyrnavos is a municipality in the Larissa regional unit, of the Thessaly region of Greece. Tyrnavos is the prefecture's third largest community within the Larissa prefecture. The town is near the mountains and the Thessalian Plain. The river Titarisios, a tributary of the Pineios, flows through...

 holds an annual Phallus festival, a traditional "phallkloric" event in which giant, gaudily painted effigies of phallus
Phallus
A phallus is an erect penis, a penis-shaped object such as a dildo, or a mimetic image of an erect penis. Any object that symbolically resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic...

es made of papier maché are paraded, and which all women present are asked to touch, or kiss, their reward for doing so being a shot of the famous local tsipouro
Tsipouro
Tsipouro is a pomace brandy from Greece and in particular Thessaly , Epirus, Macedonia, Mani Peninsula, and the island of Crete . Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing approximately 45 percent alcohol by volume and is produced from the pomace...

 alcohol spirit.
Also every year, to the very beginning (from 1 to 8 January), mostly in regions of the Western Macedonia, there are carnaval fiestas and festivals. The most known of them is the Kastorian Carnaval or "Ragoutsaria" (Gr. "Ραγκουτσάρια") [tags: Kastoria, KAstorian Carnaval, Ragoutsaria, Ραγκουτσαρια, Καστοριά]. It is taking place from 6 to 8 of January with a mass participation of the local population and thousands of visitors under the sounds of big brass bands, pipises, Macedonian and grand casa drums. It is an ancient celebration of natures' rebirth (fiestas for Dionysus (Dionysia) and Kronos (Saturnalia)), which ends the third day in a huge dance in the medieval square Ntoltso where all the bands are playing the same time and all the people are dancing too.

Hungary



In Mohács
Mohács
Mohács is a town in Baranya county, Hungary on the right bank of the Danube.-History:Two famous battles took place there:# Battle of Mohács, 1526# Battle of Mohács, 1687...

, Hungary, the Busójárás is a celebration held at the end of the Carnaval season, and involves locals dressing up in woolly costumes, with scary masks and noise-makers. They perform a burial ritual to symbolise the end of winter and spike doughnuts on weapons to symbolise the defeat of Ottomans.

Italy


The most famous carnavals of Italy are those held in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Viareggio
Viareggio
Viareggio is a city and comune located in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. With a population of over 64,000 it is the main centre of the northern Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia, and the second largest city within the Province of Lucca.It is known as a seaside resort...

, Ivrea
Ivrea
Ivrea is a town and comune of the province of Turin in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Situated on the road leading to the Aosta Valley , it straddles the Dora Baltea and is regarded as the centre of the Canavese area. Ivrea lies in a basin that, in prehistoric times, formed a great lake...

 and Acireale
Acireale
Acireale is a coastal city and commune in the north-east of the province of Catania, Sicily, Italy, at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is a diocese, famous for its churches, including the Neo-Gothic St. Peter's Basilica, St...

.

The carnaval in Venice
Carnival of Venice
The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival starts 40 days before easter and ends on Shrove Tuesday , the day before Ash Wednesday.-History:...

 was first recorded in 1268. The subversive nature of the festival is reflected in Italy's many laws over the past several centuries attempting to restrict celebrations and the wearing of mask
Mask
A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes...

s, a central feature of the carnaval. Carnaval celebrations in Venice were halted for many years after the city fell under Austrian control in 1798, but were revived in the late 20th century.

The month-long carnaval of Viareggio is one of the most renowned in Europe, and is characterized mainly by its parade of floats and masks caricaturizing
Caricature
A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.Caricatures can be...

 popular figures. In 2001, the town built a new "Carnaval citadel" dedicated to carnaval preparations and entertainment.

The carnaval of Ivrea
Ivrea
Ivrea is a town and comune of the province of Turin in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Situated on the road leading to the Aosta Valley , it straddles the Dora Baltea and is regarded as the centre of the Canavese area. Ivrea lies in a basin that, in prehistoric times, formed a great lake...

 is famous for its Battle of the Oranges
Battle of the Oranges
The Battle of the Oranges is a carnival and festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. It is the largest food fight in Italy.-History of festival:...

fought with citruses between the people by foot and the troops of the tyrant on the carts, to remember the wars that really happened during the Middle Ages.

In the most part of the Archdiocese
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan
The Archdiocese of Milan is a metropolitan see of the Catholic Church in Italy. It has long maintained its own rite: the Ambrosian rite. It is led by the Archbishop of Milan who serves as metropolitan to the dioceses of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Crema, Cremona, Lodi, Mantova, Pavia, and Vigevano.The...

 of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 the Carnaval lasts four more days, ending on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, because of the Ambrosian rite
Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite, also called the Milanese Rite, is a Catholic liturgical Western Rite. The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century...

.

Macedonia


The most popular carnavals in the Republic of Macedonia are held in Vevčani
Vevcani
Vevčani is a small city in Republic of Macedonia. It is the only settlement and seat of Vevčani Municipality.- Geography :The village of Vevčani is found in the southwestern range at the foot of the Jablanica mountain range. It is situated from 800 – 950 metres above sea level. The village is...

 and Strumica
Strumica
Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. The city is named after the Strumica River which runs through it...

.

The Vevčani Carnaval (Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

: Вевчански Kарневал, translated Vevchanski Karneval) has been held for over 1,400 years, and takes place on 13 and 14 January (New Year's Eve and New Year's Day by the old calendar). During the carnaval, the village becomes a live theatre where costumed actors improvise on the streets in roles such as the traditional "August the Stupid."

The Strumica Carnaval (Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

: Струмички Карневал, translated Strumichki Karneval) has been held since at least 1670, when the Turkish author Evlija Chelebija wrote while staying there, "I came into a town located in the foothills of a high hillock and what I saw that night was masked people running house–to–house, with laughter, scream and song." The carnaval has taken place in an organized form since 1991; in 1994, Strumica became a member of FECC and in 1998 hosted the XVIII International Congress of Carnaval Cities. The Strumica carnaval opens on a Saturday night at a masked ball where the Prince and Princess are chosen; the main carnaval night is on Tuesday, when masked participants (including groups from abroad) compete in various subjects. As of 2000, the Festival of Caricatures and Aphorisms has been held as part of Strumica's carnaval celebrations.

Malta



Carnaval in Malta (Maltese: il-Karnival ta' Malta) has had an important place on the Maltese cultural calendar for just under five centuries, having been introduced to the Islands by Grand Master
Grand Master (order)
Grand Master is the typical title of the supreme head of various orders of knighthood, including various military orders, religious orders and civil orders such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Orange Order...

 Piero de Ponte
Piero de Ponte
Fra' Piero del Ponte was the 45th Grand Master of the Order of Malta between 1534 and 1535.He hailed from Asti, in northern Italy and was a descendent of the ancient family of Casal-Gros and Lombriax...

 in 1535. It is held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats
Float (parade)
A float is a decorated platform, either built on a vehicle or towed behind one, which is a component of many festive parades, such as those of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Carnival of Viareggio, the Maltese Carnival, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Key West Fantasy Fest parade, the...

 presided over by King Carnaval (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival), marching bands and costumed revellers.

Today the largest of the carnaval celebrations takes place in and around the capital city of Valletta
Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,098. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's...

 and Floriana
Floriana
Floriana is a town in Malta, just outside the capital city Valletta. Floriana is the birthplace of many famous Maltese, amongst which the composer of the national anthem, 'L-Innu Malti', Robert Samut; former Bishop of Malta Dom Mauro Caruana, the poet Oliver Friggieri, and Swedish Idol winner...

; however, several more "spontaneous" carnavals take place in more remote areas. The Nadur Carnaval is notable for its darker themes. In 2005, the Nadur Carnaval hosted the largest-ever gathering of international Carnaval organizers for the FECC's global summit.

Traditional dances include the parata, which is a lighthearted re-enactment of the 1565 victory of the Knights
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 over the Turks, and an 18th century court dance known as il-Maltija. Food eaten at the carnaval includes perlini (multi-coloured, sugar-coated almonds) and the prinjolata, which is a towering assembly of sponge cake, biscuits, almonds and citrus fruits, topped with cream and pine nuts.

Netherlands


Carnaval in the Netherlands is also called "Vastenavond" or "Vastelaovend", and is most celebrated in Catholic regions, mainly the southern provinces North Brabant
North Brabant
North Brabant , sometimes called Brabant, is a province of the Netherlands, located in the south of the country, bordered by Belgium in the south, the Meuse River in the north, Limburg in the east and Zeeland in the west.- History :...

 and Limburg
Limburg (Netherlands)
Limburg is the southernmost of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. It is located in the southeastern part of the country and bordered by the province of Gelderland to the north, Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and part of the west, andthe Dutch province of North Brabant partly to...

. Dutch Carnaval is officially celebrated on the Sunday through Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. Although traditions vary from town to town, some common characteristics of Dutch Carnaval include a parade, a "prince" plus cortège ("Council of 11"), a farmer's wedding (boerenbruiloft), and eating herring (haring happen) on Ash Wednesday.

One variant of Dutch Carnaval is known as the Rijnlandsche Carnaval, which can be seen in the province of Limburg. The province's capital of Maastricht
Maastricht
Maastricht is situated on both sides of the Meuse river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, on the Belgian border and near the German border...

 holds a street carnaval featuring elaborate costumes that resemble some South American and Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 influences. Intentionally amateurish marching bands ('Zaate Hermeniekes' or 'Drunken Marching Bands') traditionally perform on the streets. In recent years samba
Samba
Samba is a Brazilian dance and musical genre originating in Bahia and with its roots in Brazil and Africa via the West African slave trade and African religious traditions. It is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival...

 bands have become more popular.

The oldest-known Dutch carnaval festivities date from 1385 in 's-Hertogenbosch. They are depicted in several paintings by 15th-century painter Jheronimus Bosch. During the three days of the carnaval, 's-Hertogenbosch changes its name to "Oeteldonk," which means "Frog Hill." This name changing tradition is common in and around North Brabant
North Brabant
North Brabant , sometimes called Brabant, is a province of the Netherlands, located in the south of the country, bordered by Belgium in the south, the Meuse River in the north, Limburg in the east and Zeeland in the west.- History :...

.

Poland


The Polish Carnaval Season includes Fat Thursday
Fat Thursday
Fat Thursday is a traditional Polish, Greek and German feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival...

 (Polish: Tłusty Czwartek), when pączki
Paczki
Pączki are pastries traditional to Polish cuisine . Pączki is the plural form of the Polish word pączek , though many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural. In English, the common pronunciation imitates the Polish pronunciation, but some speakers pronounce the word or...

(doughnuts) are eaten, and Śledzik (Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday is a term used in English-speaking countries, especially in Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Germany, and parts of the United States for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent.The...

) or Herring Day. The Tuesday before the start of Lent is also often called Ostatki (literally "lasts"), meaning the last day to party before the Lenten season.

The traditional way to celebrate Carnaval is the kulig
Kulig
Kulig is an old Polish winter tradition dating back to the days of the szlachta .The kulig was a sleigh ride party organized among the Polish aristocracy. A cavalcade of horse-pulled sleighs and sledges went from one manor house to another, entertained everywhere with hearty meals followed by...

, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered countryside. In modern times, Carnaval is increasingly seen as an excuse for intensive partying and night-clubbing, and has become more commercialized with stores offering Carnaval-season sales.

Portugal



Carnaval in Portugal is celebrated throughout the country, most famously in Ovar
Ovar
Ovar Municipality is a municipality in Aveiro District, Baixo Vouga Subregion in Portugal. It has a total area of 147.4 km² and a total population of 56,296 inhabitants, and 42,582 electors . The city of Ovar itself has a population of 16,849....

, Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

, Loulé
Loulé
Loulé is a city and a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 764.2 km² and a total population of 62,295 inhabitants. The city proper has a population of 12,103.The municipality is composed of 11 parishes, and is located in the District of Faro....

, Nazaré, and Torres Vedras
Torres Vedras
Torres Vedras is a city and a municipality in the district of Lisbon, Portugal, about 50 km north of Lisbon. It belongs to the Oeste subregion and the Centro region.The municipality covers an area of 405.89 km² distributed over 20 freguesias...

. The carnavals in Podence and Lazarim incorporate pagan traditions such as the careto
Careto
The careto is a young masked man in the carnival tradition from Northeastern Portugal, namely in the village of Podence in Macedo de Cavaleiros municipality...

, while the Torres Vedras celebration is probably the most typical Portuguese carnaval.

Ironically, although Portugal introduced Christianity and the customs related to Catholic practice to Brazil, the country has begun to adopt some aspects of Brazilian-style Carnaval celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, samba and other Brazilian musical elements.

Carnaval is celebrated throughout Portugal, but each region puts its own unique take on the festival.

In Lazarim, a municipality of Lamego, celebrations follow the pagan tradition of the Roman Saturnalias. This rustic town celebrates Carnaval by burning colorful effigies and dressing in carefully crafted, home-made costumes. The region is celebrated for its wood craftsmanship and is most for the locals’ heavy, hand-made wooden masks worn during Carnaval. The masks of Lazarim are effigies of both men and women, but both roles are performed by men. They are distinguished by their clothes, which ridiculously characterize different attributes of both men and women.

The Lazarim Carnaval cycle encompasses two periods, the first starting on the fifth Sunday before Fat Sunday. Masked figures and people wearing large sculpted heads walk through the town. The locals also feast on a wide variety of meats, above all pork. The second cycle, held on Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday, incorporates the tradition of the Compadres and Comadres, with men and women displaying light-hearted authority over the other.

Over the course of the five weeks, men prepare large masked heads and women raise funds to pay for the mannequins that will be sacrificed in a public bonfire. This is one of the key events and is a Carnaval tradition unique to Portugal. During the bonfire, a girl reads the Compadre's will and a boy reads the Comadre’s will. The executors of the will are named, a donkey is symbolically distributed to both female and male “heirs,” and then the final reckoning in which the Entrudo, or Carnaval doll, is burned.

In Estarreja in the Central region of Portugal, the town’s first references to Carnaval are noted in the 14th Century, with “Flower Battles,” or richly decorated floats which paraded through Estarreja’s streets. In the beginning of the twentieth century these festivities ended with the death of its main promoters only to reappear again in the sixties to become one of the many important Carnaval festivals in Portugal.

In the Northern region of Podence children appear from Sunday to Tuesday with tin masks and colorful multilayered costumes made from red, green and yellow wool. And in the Central Portugal towns of Nelas and Canas de Senhorim, Carnaval is one of the most important tourist events in the region, attracting thousands of visitors yearly. Nelas and Canas de Senhorim are host to the four festive parades that promise visitors colorful and creative costumes: The Bairro da Igreja and the Cimo do Povo in Nelas and the do Paço and the do Rossio in Canas de Senhorim.

One of the most famous Carnaval events in Portugal is in the town Ovar near Porto. Organized in 1952 it is the largest festivity of the region drawing thousands of visitors. It is well known for its creative designs, which they display in the Carnaval Parade. Participants and their families work year-round to prepare their elaborate and humorous costumes, masks, decorations and floats. Its Carnaval parade features troupes with themed costumes and music, ranging from the traditional to modern pop culture.

In Lisbon, Portugal’s largest city, Carnaval is a more cosmopolitan affair. Parades, dances and festivities throughout the week feature famous stars from Portugal and Brazil. The Loures Carnaval is a highlight of Lisbon’s festivities which celebrates the country’s folk traditions, including the “enterro do bacalhau” or burial of the cod, which symbolizes the end of Carnaval and the festivities.

North of Lisbon is the famous Torres Vedras Carnaval, described as the “most Portuguese in Portugal.” Those looking for a less touristy Carnaval experience should visit this town where the locals are the stars. The celebration highlight is a parade of creatively decorated streetcars satirizing society and politics.

Other Central Portugal towns, such as Fatima and Leiria, offer colorful, family-friendly takes on Carnaval. In these towns everyone dresses up as if it were Halloween. Children and adults wear masks and enjoy the towns’ enthusiastic parades.

In the Algarve region along the southern coast of Portugal, several of the posh resorts towns offer their own traditional takes on the Carnaval parades. Besides the themed floats and cars, the Carnaval festivities include “samba” groups, bands, dances and plenty of music and liveliness. In the city of Loulé, the Carnaval parade annually attracts thousands of national and foreign tourists to the region.
Azores

The Islands of the Azores have their own take on the Carnaval festivities, but like on the mainland, many local clubs and Carnaval groups create colorful and creative costumes that take a jab at the political or cultural characters of the times.

On São Miguel Island
São Miguel Island
São Miguel Island , nicknamed "The Green Island", is the largest and most populous island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago. The island covers and has around 140,000 inhabitants, 45,000 of these people located in the largest city in the archipelago: Ponta Delgada.-History:In 1427, São Miguel...

, Carnaval has a sweet taste with street vendors selling fried dough, called a Malassada. The festival on the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 biggest island starts off with a black tie grand ball, then and heats up with Latin music at the recently restored Coliseu Micaelense. There is a children’s parade in the streets of Ponta Delgada with children from each school district coming in costume. Then a massive Carnaval parade fills the streets into the wee hours ending in fireworks.

Some of the islands’ more unique aspects to Carnaval are the theatre performances and dances. In the "Danças de Entrudo" hundreds of people follow the dancers around the island. Throughout the show the dancers, who are guided by a “master,” act out dramas from everyday life. The “Dances de Carnaval” are allegorical and comedic tales acted out in the streets throughout the festival. The largest is in “Angra do Heroísmo
Angra do Heroísmo
Angra do Heroísmo , locally referred to as Angra, is a municipality and city on the island of Terceira, within the Portuguese autonomous region of the Azores. The municipal area has a population of 35,581 and an area of . Along with Praia da Vitória to the north, it is one of two municipal...

,” with more than 30 Carnaval groups performing. During this festival, it is said there are more Portuguese-language theatrical performances occurring here than anywhere else in the world.

The Carnaval festivities end on Ash Wednesday, when locals sit down for the "Batatada" or potato feast, in which the main dish is salted cod with potatoes, eggs, mint, bread and wine. After, residents head into the streets for the burning of the “Carnaval clown,” signaling the end of the Carnaval.
Madeira

On the Island of Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

, Carnaval maintains its distinctive local roots as well. Funchal
Funchal
Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira. The city has a population of 112,015 and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries.-Etymology:...

, the island’s capital, wakes up on the Friday morning before Ash Wednesday to the sound of brass bands and Carnaval parades throughout the downtown area. That night festivities continue with concerts and shows in the Praça do Município for five consecutive days. The Main Carnaval street parade takes place on Saturday evening with thousands of Samba dancers flooding the streets of Funchal. The traditional public street Carnaval takes place on Tuesday, where the island's population displays its ingenuity and imagination by creating daring caricatures for the parade.

Russia


Maslenitsa
Maslenitsa
Maslenitsa . Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday. The Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date. In 2008, for example, Maslenitsa was celebrated from March 2 to March...

  is a Russian folk holiday that incorporates some traditions that date back to pagan times. It is celebrated during the last week before Lent. The essential element of Maslenitsa celebration is bliny, Russian pancakes, popularly taken to symbolize the sun. Round and golden, they are made from the rich foods still allowed during that week by the Orthodox traditions: butter, eggs, and milk (in the tradition of Orthodox lent, the consumption of meat ceases one week before the consumption of milk and eggs).

Maslenitsa also includes masquerade
Masquerade ball
A masquerade ball is an event which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. - History :...

s, snowball fights, sledding, swinging on swings and sleigh rides. The mascot of the celebration is usually a brightly dressed straw effigy of Lady Maslenitsa, formerly known as Kostroma. As the culmination of the celebration, on Sunday evening, Lady Maslenitsa is stripped of her finery, and put to the flames of a bonfire
Bonfire
A bonfire is a controlled outdoor fire used for informal disposal of burnable waste material or as part of a celebration. Celebratory bonfires are typically designed to burn quickly and may be very large...

.

In Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 the modern celebration of the festival is organized by the city to fall on a fixed date annually (at Sunday, closest to 27 May).

Slovakia


In Slovakia, the Fašiangy (fašiang, fašangy) takes place from Three Kings Day (Traja králi) until the midnight before Ash Wednesday (Škaredá streda or Popolcová streda). At the midnight marking the end of fašiangy, a symbolic burial ceremony for the contrabass is performed, because music has to cease for the Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

.

Slovenia


Slovenia has a rich and diverse annual cycle of holidays. Much ethnic heritage has been preserved through widely attended tourist events.

The Slovenian countryside displays a variety of disguised groups and individual characters among which the most popular and characteristic is the Kurent (plural: Kurenti), a monstrous and demon-like, but fluffy figure. The most significant ethonological Carnaval festival is traditionally held in annually in the town of Ptuj
Ptuj
Ptuj is a city and one of 11 urban municipalities in Slovenia. Traditionally the area was part of the Lower Styria region. The municipality is now included in the Podravje statistical region...

 (see: Kurentovanje
Kurentovanje
Kurentovanje is a ten-day rite of spring and fertility, celebrated in Slovenia. The origins of Kurentovanje are not certain, but it is likely connected to Slavic paganism....

). The special feature of the event of Ptuj
Ptuj
Ptuj is a city and one of 11 urban municipalities in Slovenia. Traditionally the area was part of the Lower Styria region. The municipality is now included in the Podravje statistical region...

 itself and its surrounding area are the Kurents themselves, magical creatures from the other world, who visit all major events throughout the country, members of parliament, the president and mayors, trying to banish the winter and announce the arrival of the spring, fertility, and new life with loud noise and dancing. The origin of the Kurent is a mystery, and not much is known of the times, beliefs, or purposes connected with its first appearance. The origin of the name itself is obscure.

Another town, equal in importance to Ptuj
Ptuj
Ptuj is a city and one of 11 urban municipalities in Slovenia. Traditionally the area was part of the Lower Styria region. The municipality is now included in the Podravje statistical region...

, where the carnaval tradition is alive is Cerknica
Cerknica
Cerknica is a town and municipality in the Kras region of southwestern Slovenia, with a population of 10,284 . It belongs to the traditional region of Inner Carniola....

. The carnaval is heralded by a figure called "Poganjič" carrying a whip. In the carnaval procession, organised by the "Pust society", a monstrous witch named Uršula is driven from Mt. Slivnica, to be burned at the stake on Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

. Unique to this region is a group of dormice, driven by the Devil, and a huge fire-breathing dragon.
Cerkno
Cerkno
Cerkno is a small town and a municipality in the Littoral region of Slovenia.It has around 2,000 inhabitants and is the administrative centre of the Cerkno hills...

 and its surrounding area is known for the Laufarji, carnaval figures with artistically carved wooden masks.

The Mačkare from Dobrepolje used to represent a triple character: the beautiful, the ugly (among which the most important represented by an old man, an old woman, a hunchback, and a Korant), and the noble (imitating the urban elite).

The major part of the population, especially the young and children, dress up in ordinary non-ethnic costumes, going to school, work, and organized events, where prizes are given for the best and most original costumes. Costumed children sometimes go from house to house asking for treats in an imitation of American Halloween.

Spain


Arguably the most famous locales in Spain are Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital , second-most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 in 2009...

, Las Palmas De Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria commonly known as Las Palmas is the political capital, jointly with Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the ninth largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 in 2010. Nearly half of the people of the island...

, Sitges
Sitges
*Church of Sant Bartolomeu i Santa Tecla . It houses two Gothic sepulchres , belonging to the an older church located on the same site...

, Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú is a city in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and the capital of the Garraf comarca. Originally a fishing port, the city has a growing population of approximately 66,000, and is situated 40 km south-west of Barcelona, with the more famous coastal resort of...

, Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

, Solsona
Solsona, Lleida
Solsona is a municipality and capital of the comarca of the Solsonès in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated in the centre of the comarca in the Central Catalan Depression. It is served by the C-55 road to Manresa, and is linked to Berga and Bassella by the C-26.The old town is known as the Clos antic...

, Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, Badajoz
Badajoz
Badajoz is the capital of the Province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain, situated close to the Portuguese border, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid–Lisbon railway. The population in 2007 was 145,257....

, Bielsa
Bielsa
Bielsa is a municipality located in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain. According to the 2004 census , the municipality has a population of 463 inhabitants....

 (an ancestral carnaval celebration), Plan
Plan
A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with timing and resources, used to achieve an objective. See also strategy. It is commonly understood as a temporal set of intended actions, through which one expects to achieve a goal...

, San Juan de Plan
San Juan de Plan
San Juan de Plan is a municipality located northeast of Plan in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. According to the 2004 census , the municipality has a population of 147 inhabitants....

, Laza, Verín, Viana and Xinzo de Limia
Xinzo de Limia
Xinzo de Limia , is a town in the province of Ourense, Autonomous Community of Galicia, Spain. It lies on the important Autovia das Rias Baixas in the fertile valley of Antela, approximately 33 km from Verín and 43 km from Ourense...

.
Andalusia


In Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

 the costumes worn are often related to recent news, such as the bird flu
H5N1
Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as "bird flu", A or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species...

 epidemic in 2006, during which many people were disguised as chickens. The feeling of this carnaval is the sharp criticism, the funny play on words and the imagination in the costumes, more than the glamorous dressings. It is traditional to paint the face with lipstick as a humble substitute of a mask.

The most famous groups are the chirigotas, choirs and comparsa
Comparsa
A comparsa is the band which plays a conga during a Latin American Carnival celebration. It consists of a large group of dancers dancing and traveling on the streets, followed by a Carrosa where the musicians play...

s. The chirigotas are well known witty, satiric popular groups who sing about politics, new times and household topics, wearing the same costume, which they train for the whole year. The Choirs (coros) are wider groups that go on open carts through the streets singing with a little orchestra of guitars and lutes. Their characteristic composition is the "Carnaval Tango", and they alternate comical and serious repertory. The comparsas are the serious counterpart of the chirigota in Cádiz, and the poetical lyrics and the criticism are their main ingredients. They have a more elaborated polyphony
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

, being easily recognizable by the typical countertenor
Countertenor
A countertenor is a male singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to that of a contralto, mezzo-soprano, or a soprano, usually through use of falsetto, or far more rarely than normal, modal voice. A pre-pubescent male who has this ability is called a treble...

 voice.
Canary Islands


The Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital , second-most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 in 2009...

 and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria commonly known as Las Palmas is the political capital, jointly with Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the ninth largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 in 2010. Nearly half of the people of the island...

 is together with the Carnaval of Cadiz, the most important festival for Spanish tourism and Spain's largest carnaval. In 1980 it was declared a Festival Tourist International Interest, by the Secretariat of State for the Tourism. Every February, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital , second-most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 in 2009...

, the capital of the largest of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, hosts the event, attracting around a million people. The celebrations could be declared by UNESCO as Heritage of Mankind in 2011. Carnaval of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.

In 1980 it was declared a Festival Tourist International Interest, by the Secretariat of State for the Tourism and it is one of the most important carnavals of the World. The Carnaval of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

. This declaration by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 will, occur, further promoting international had Santa Cruz de Tenerife, being the first Carnaval of Spain to obtain this recognition, for its permanent in time and it would reach the five continents through UNESCO. In 1987 went to the "Carnaval Chicharrero" Cuban
Cubans
Cubans or Cuban people are the inhabitants or citizens of Cuba. Cuba is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds...

 singer Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz was a Cuban-American salsa singer, and was one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century, having earned twenty-three gold albums...

 with orchestra Billo's Caracas Boys, attended by 250,000 people, was registered in the Guinness
Guinness
Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost...

 of Records as the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza to attend a concert, a record she holds today.
The Carnaval of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria commonly known as Las Palmas is the political capital, jointly with Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the ninth largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 in 2010. Nearly half of the people of the island...

 (Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, with a population of 838,397 which constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago...

) has a Drag Queen's gala where a jury chooses a winner.
Catalonia

In Catalonia people dress up and organise parties for a week but particularly on the weekend. Despite it being winter, parties are open air, beginning with a cercavila to call everybody to come. Rues of people dance along the streets. On Thursday Dijous Gras is celebrated, also called 'the omelette day' (el dia de la truita), coques
Coca (pastry)
The coca is a pastry typically made and consumed in Catalonia, eastern parts of Aragon, most of Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Andorra and in French Catalonia....

(de llardons, butifarra d'ou, butifarra) and omelettes are eaten. Parties end by burning Mr. Carnestoltes and with enterrament de la sardina (sardine's funeral).

Carnaval de Solsona takes place in Solsona, Lleida
Solsona, Lleida
Solsona is a municipality and capital of the comarca of the Solsonès in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated in the centre of the comarca in the Central Catalan Depression. It is served by the C-55 road to Manresa, and is linked to Berga and Bassella by the C-26.The old town is known as the Clos antic...

 in central Catalonia. It is one of the longest carnavals in Catalonia; free events in the streets, and concerts every night, run for more than a week. The carnaval is known for a legend that explains some people hung a donkey at the tower bell, because the animal wanted to eat some grass which grew on the top of the tower. To remember this legend, every year people in Solsona hang a stuffed donkey at the tower that "pisses" above the excited people using a water pump. This event is the most important of Solsona's Carnaval and takes place on Saturday night. For this reason, the inhabitants of Solsona are called "matarrucs" ("donkey killers"). Photo:

Another characteristic of the carnaval is its giants. Crazy Giants will pursue and try to hit revellers with their articulated arms and legs. The Crazy Giants were created in 1978 by the giant-making master Manel Casserras i Boix. Photo:

"Comparses" groups organize free activities in the streets. They are groups of friends who create and personalize a uniformed suit which is worn every year during the festivities. Website: http://www.carnavalsolsona.com/

Sitges
Sitges
*Church of Sant Bartolomeu i Santa Tecla . It houses two Gothic sepulchres , belonging to the an older church located on the same site...

: This carnaval is one of the most famous carnavals in Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. Special food includes xatonades (a xató
Xató
Xató is a typical Catalan dish. Xató is a sauce made with almonds, hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt, and the nyora pepper...

is a traditional local salad of Sitges) served with omelettes. Two important moments are the Rua de la Disbauxa (Debauchery Parade) on Sunday night and the Rua de l'Extermini (Extermination Parade) on Tuesday night. Around 40 floats with more than 2,500 participants parade in Sitges.

The carnaval of Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú is a city in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and the capital of the Garraf comarca. Originally a fishing port, the city has a growing population of approximately 66,000, and is situated 40 km south-west of Barcelona, with the more famous coastal resort of...

 is notable for Les Comparses (on Sunday), in which good-humoured rival groups throw boiled sweets (candies) at each other. Vinanova's and Sitge's carnaval are rivals.

Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

 has one of the most complete ritual sequences of the Catalan carnavals. The events start with the building of a huge barrel and end with its burning together with the effigies of the carnaval King and Queen. On Saturday, the main parade takes place. There are masked groups, zoomorphic figures, music and percussion bands, and groups with fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

 (the devils, the dragon, the ox, the female dragon). Carnaval groups stand out for their clothes full of elegance, showing brilliant examples of fabric crafts, at the Saturday and Sunday parades. About 5,000 people are members of the parade groups.

Caribbean



Most of the islands in the Caribbean celebrate Carnaval. The largest and most well-known celebration is held in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, Antigua
Antigua
Antigua , also known as Waladli, is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la...

, Aruba
Aruba
Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 130 km east of Guajira Peninsula...

, Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

, Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, Barbados
Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

, Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, Dominica
Dominica
Dominica , officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of . The Commonwealth...

, Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, Saint Maarten, Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...

, Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts Saint Kitts Saint Kitts (also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island (Saint-Christophe in French) is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean...

, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Saint Thomas is an island in the Caribbean Sea and with the islands of Saint John, Saint Croix, and Water Island a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands , an unincorporated territory of the United States. Located on the island is the territorial capital and port of...

, Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent (island)
Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island of the chain called Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada. It is composed of partially submerged volcanic mountains...

 and the Grenadines
Grenadines
The Grenadines is a Caribbean island chain of over 600 islands in the Windward Islands.-Geographic boundaries:They are divided between the island nations of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. They lie between the islands of Saint Vincent in the north and Grenada in the south. Neither...

 are also known for lengthy carnival seasons and large celebrations.

Carnaval is an important cultural event on the Dutch Antilles islands of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Saba, Sint Eustatius (Statia), and Bonaire. Festivities include "jump-up" parades with beautifully colored costumes, floats, and live bands as well as beauty contests and other competitions. Carnaval on these islands also includes a middle-of-the-night j'ouvert
J'ouvert
J'ouvert is a large street party during Carnival in the eastern Caribbean region. J'ouvert is a contraction of the French jour ouvert, or dawn/day break....

 (juvé) parade that ends at sunrise with the burning of a straw King Momo, cleansing the island of sins and bad luck. On Statia he is called Prince Stupid.

Carnaval has also been celebrated in Cuba since the 18th century. The costumes, dances and pageantry grew with each passing year, with the participants donning costumes from the cultural and ethnic variety on the island. After Fidel Castro's Communist Revolution, carnaval's religious overture was suppressed. The events remained, albeit frowned upon by the state. Carnaval celebrations have been in decline throughout Cuba since 1960.
Aruba

Carnaval means weeks of events that bring you colourfully decorated floats, contagiously throbbing music, luxuriously costumed groups of celebrants of all ages, King & Queen elections, electrifying jump ups and torch light parades that wind their way through the streets at night, the Jouvert morning: the Children's Parades and finally the Grand Parade. Aruba’s biggest celebration of the year is a month-long celebration consisting of festive “jump-ups” (street parades), spectacular parades and creative contests. Music and flamboyant costumes play a central role, from the Queen elections to the Grand Parade, which winds it ways down city avenues to the delight of thousands of spectators. Street parades are held in various districts throughout the month, allowing everyone an opportunity to participate and dance to the season’s most popular brass band, steel band and roadmarch tunes. On the evening before the start of Lent, Carnaval officially comes to end with the symbolic burning of “King Momo.”
Antigua


The Antiguan Carnaval is a celebration of music and dance held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is that of the j'ouvert (or juvé), in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island's population. Barbuda's Carnaval, held in June, is known as Caribana. The Antiguan and Barbudan Carnavals replaced the Old Time Christmas Festival in 1957, with hopes of inspiring tourism in Antigua and Barbuda. Some elements of the Christmas Festival remain in the modern Carnaval celebrations, which are otherwise largely based on the Trinidadian Carnaval. The carnaval consists of mass playing, steel pan music and various shows such as calypso shows and pageants.
Barbados


Carnaval in Barbados is known as Crop Over. Crop Over is Barbados' biggest festival, having had its early beginnings on the sugar cane plantations during the colonial period. The crop over tradition began in 1688, and featured singing, dancing and accompaniment by bottles filled with water, shak-shak, banjo, triangle, fiddle, guitar, and bones. Other traditions included climbing a greased pole, feasting and drinking competitions. Originally a celebration signaling the end of the yearly sugar cane harvest, it has since evolved into a national festival rivaling New Orleans Mardi Gras and Trinidad Carnaval in Trinidad. In the late 20th Century, the general schematic of Crop Over began to closely mirror the Trinidad Carnaval. Beginning in June, Crop Over it runs until the first Monday in August when it culminates in the finale, The Grand Kadooment.

For the entire two months life for many islanders is one big party with a major feature of crop over being the calypso competition. Calypso music, originating in Trinidad, uses syncopated rhythm and topical lyrics and gives its exponents a medium in which to satirise local politics and comment on the issues of the day, while taking nothing away from the general bacchanal. Calypso tents, also originating in Trinidad, feature their cadre of calypsonians who perform biting social commentaries on the happenings of the past year, political exposés or rousing exhortations to wuk dah waistline and roll dat bumper. There are craft markets, food tents and stalls, street parties and cavalcades every week supplemented by daily events at Tim’s on the Highway, the new home of the Barbados Cropover Festival.

Competition "tents" ring with the fierce battle of calypsonians for the coveted Calypso Monarch Award and the air is redolent with the exotic smells of Bajan cooking during the Bridgetown Market Street Fair. Rich with the spirit of local culture, the Cohobblopot Festival blends dance and drama and music with the crowning of the King and Queen of costume bands. Every evening the "Pic-o-de-Crop" Show is performed when finally the King of Calypso is crowned. The climax of the festival is Kadooment Day celebrated with a national holiday when costume bands fill the streets with pulsating Barbadian rhythms and fireworks that ignite the sky.
Dominican Republic

Main Article: Dominican Carnaval
Dominican Carnaval is celebrated in most cities and towns in the Dominican Republic.It is celebrated in the main streets of each town during the month of February. One of the main characteristics of this carnaval are its flashy costumes and the loud music played during the celebration. Some of the most known parades of this country are the one held in La Vega
La Vega
La Vega is a province of the Dominican Republic. Until 1992 it included what is now Monseñor Nouel province.-Municipalities and municipal districts:...

, which is one of the biggest in the country, and the National Parade held in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

. It was here where the first carnaval of the Americas was held, and it is also one of the biggest in the region.

One of the main attractions are its masks, which are very elaborate and colorful. The elaborate costumes used on the parades are satires of the Devil and are called "Diablos Cojuelos" all around the country, they dance, and run to the rhythm of Merengue
Merengue music
Merengue is a type of music and dance from the Dominican Republic. It is popular in the Dominican Republic and all over Latin America. Its name is Spanish, taken from the name of the meringue, a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar...

 mixed with techno, hip-hop, and reggeaton during the celebration. Adding to this characters the celebration also show some allegorical characters representing Dominican traditions such as "Roba la Gallina",and "Califé".

One of the most international parades in the Dominican Republic is the one in San Pedro de Macoris
San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the Dominican Republic.-Demographics:...

 that exhibits the "Guloyas", which are considered cultural heritage of the world. This parade consists of groups of people dressed in costumes dancing around the street of San Pedro de Macoris. The main attraction apart from the colorful costumes is the people running away from the "Diablos Cojuelos" which try to hit people with "Vejigas".
Haiti

Haiti Kanaval has up to 1,000,000 people jamming the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince's Champs de Marse rock to Meringues (Haitian carnaval melodies) on the Beton (the street course where the floats pass through).

The many different genres of Haitian Music are fully represented with the different bands that blaze through the beton New styles with foreign influence emerge continuously mixing Haitian sounds with techno, hip-hop, reggae, zouk, Fand soukous to name a few.
The 20 bands in the seven-hour parade play as the chars creep through the wild crowds until 4 am. The dancers before and after the floats, dance the ga gun, an aggressive dance that can be as competitive as it is celebrative. Everybody knows the songs; every line, every chant has the audience ecstatic, with the floats themselves bouncing in time to the music. Condoms, thrown from floats and from the stands, were blown up like balloons. And long lines of people dance elaborate dances, turning the sensuality of the music into movement.
Combined, the depth of the music and dance suggests Haiti's enormous cultural power as a reservoir of African and Creole culture, underscoring its importance as one of the major producers of art in the Caribbean. And in its intensity, its Carnaval is clearly one of the more important events in the African diaspora in the Americas.
Trinidad and Tobago

In Trinidad & Tobago, Carnaval is a holiday season that lasts over a month and culminates in large celebrations in Port of Spain
Port of Spain
Port of Spain, also written as Port-of-Spain, is the capital of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the country's third-largest municipality, after San Fernando and Chaguanas. The city has a municipal population of 49,031 , a metropolitan population of 128,026 and a transient daily population...

 which is the capital of Trinidad, on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

 with Dimanche Gras, J'ouvert
J'ouvert
J'ouvert is a large street party during Carnival in the eastern Caribbean region. J'ouvert is a contraction of the French jour ouvert, or dawn/day break....

, and Mas (masquerade). Tobago's celebrations also culminates on Monday and Tuesday but on a much smaller scale in its capital Scarborough. Carnaval is a festive time of costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying (also referred to as fete-ing). Music styles associated with Carnaval include soca
Soca music
Soca is a style of music from Trinidad and Tobago. Soca is a musical development of traditional Trinidadian calypso, through loans from the 1960s onwards from predominantly black popular music....

, calypso
Calypso music
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago from African and European roots. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of enslaved Africans, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song...



The annual Carnaval steel pan competition known as the National Panorama competition is held in the weeks preceding Carnaval with the finals held on the Saturday before the main event. Pan players compete in various categories such as "Conventional Steel band" or "Single Pan" by performing renditions of the current year's calypsos. Preliminary judging of this event for "Conventional Steel Bands" has been recently moved to the individual pan yards where steel bands practice their selections for the competition.

"Dimanche Gras" takes place on the Sunday night before Ash Wednesday. Here the Calypso Monarch is chosen (after competition) and prize money and a vehicle bestowed. Also the King and Queen of the bands are crowned, where each band to parade costumes for the next two days submits a king and queen, from which an overall winner is chosen. These usually involve huge, complex, beautiful costumes.

J'ouvert, or "Dirty Mas", takes place before dawn on the Monday (known as Carnaval Monday) before Ash Wednesday. It means ""opening of the day" . Here revelers dress in old clothes and cover themselves in mud, oil paint and body paint. A common character to be seen at this time is "Jab-jabs" (devils, blue, black or red) complete with pitch fork, pointed horns and tails. Here also, a king and queen of the J'ouvert are chosen, based on their representation of current political/social events/issues.
Carnaval Monday involves the parade of the mas bands, but on a casual or relaxed scale. Usually revelers wear only parts of their costumes, and the purpose of the day is more one of fun than display or competition. Also on Carnaval Monday, Monday Night Mas is popular in most towns and especially the capital, where smaller bands participate in competition.

Carnaval Tuesday is when the main events of the carnaval take place. On this day full costume is worn complete with make up and body paints/adornments. Each band has their costume presentation based on a particular theme, and contain various sections (some consisting of thousands of revelers) which reflect these themes. Here the street parade and eventual crowning of the best bands take place. After following a route where various judging points are located, the mas bands eventually converge on the Queen's Park Savannah to pass "on the stage" to be judged once and for all. Also taking place on this day is the crowning of the Road March king or queen, where the singer of the most played song over the two days of the carnaval is crowned winner, complete with prize money and usually a vehicle.

This parading and revelry goes on into the night of the Tuesday. Ash Wednesday itself, whilst not an official holiday, is marked by most by visiting the beaches that abound both Trinidad and Tobago. The most populated being Maracas beach and Manzanilla beach, where huge beach parties take place every Ash Wednesday. These provide a cool down from the previous five days of hectic partying, parades and competitions, and are usually attended by the whole family.

Guatemala


The smallest Carnaval celebration in Guatemala is in Mazatenango.
During the month of February, Mazatenango is famous for its eight day Carnaval Feast. Locals and visitors alike look forward to the days of food, music, parades, games, etc. that bring the streets of the capital city of the department of Suchitepéquez to life. As one Guatemalan website states, “To mention the carnaval of Mazatenango is to bring to mind moments of a happy and cordial party. In the eight days of this celebration's duration the local residents have kept alive the traditions of the Department.”

Honduras


In La Ceiba
La Ceiba
La Ceiba is a port city on the northern coast of Honduras in Central America. It is located on the southern edge of the Caribbean, forming part of the south eastern boundary of the Gulf of Honduras...

 in Honduras, Carnaval is held on the fourth Saturday of every May to commemorate San Isidro
Isidore the Laborer
Isidore the Laborer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, , was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba, Honduras....

. It is the largest Carnaval celebration in Central America.

Nicaragua


In the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, in the city of Bluefields
Bluefields
Bluefields is the capital of the municipality of the same name, and of Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur in Nicaragua. It was also capital of the former Zelaya Department, which was divided into North and South Atlantic Autonomous Regions...

, the carnaval, better known as Palo de Mayo (or Mayo Ya!), is celebrated every day of May.

In the Nicaragua's capital city, Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

, it is only celebrated for 2 days. The carnaval in Managua is named "Alegria por la vida" translated to "Joy for Life" and features a different theme each year.

There's also a Festival In Managua which is called " Santo Domingo de Guzman" which lasts ten days.

Mexico


In Mexico, Carnaval is celebrated in many cities and towns, most notably in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mérida, Yucatán
Mérida, Yucatán
Mérida is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Yucatán and the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about from the Gulf of Mexico coast...

, and in the city of Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

, where Carnaval is celebrated with traditional music, folklore, arts and dances. People dress in bright, feathered costumes resembling the indigenous traditions, and create a series of performances on the streets as well as on stages. In most cases there is a large set-up of fair games and roller coaster
Roller coaster
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first coasters on January 20, 1885...

s. Both Mazatlán's and Veracruz's celebrations are often compared to the carnaval of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 or New Orleans. In Copándaro de Galeana, Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 c
Carnaval is celebrated with lively parades often surrounding bull riding
Bull riding
Bull riding refers to rodeo sports that involve a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck off the rider....

, cockfight
Cockfight
A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters , held in a ring called a cockpit. Cockfighting is now illegal throughout all states in the United States, Brazil, Australia and in most of Europe. It is still legal in several U.S. territories....

s and dancing.

In some of the central to northern regions the popular Norteña and Mexican rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

 influences are very present, whereas in the coastal or southern regions, carnavals represent a more indigenous rendition. Each one will include many region-specific food dishes and drinks.

Panama


The Panamanian Carnaval is the second biggest festival in the world
. Traditionally beginning on Friday and ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

, "los carnavales", as Panamanians refer to the days of carnaval, are celebrated in almost the whole country. Carnaval Week in Panama is specially popular because of the luxury and magnitude of the Las Tablas Carnaval as well as the carnaval celebrations in Panama City
Panama City
Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the...

 and almost all of the Azuero Peninsula. The Panamanian Carnaval is also popular because of the great number of concerts by national and international artists held on different stages in the most visited areas of the country.

Canada


Caribana, held in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 on the first weekend of August, has its origins in the carnaval traditions of the Caribbean. Due to climatic imperatives, Caribana is held in the summer when Caribbean costumes may be paraded comfortably, rather than adhering to the traditional winter dates of the other carnavals in which the festival is strongly rooted. Attendance at the Caribana parade typically exceeds one million people.

The Quebec Winter Carnaval is the biggest winter-themed carnaval in the world. It depends on good snowfalls and very cold weather, to keep snowy ski
Ski
A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...

 trails in good condition and the many ice sculpture
Ice sculpture
Ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material. Sculptures from ice can be abstract or realistic and can be functional or purely decorative...

s intact. For this reason it does not coincide with the pre-Lent celebration but is fixed instead to the last days of January and first days of February.

In the Ottawa-Gatineau region, Winterlude
Winterlude
Winterlude is an annual festival in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec that celebrates winter.Winterlude is run by Canada's National Capital Commission and was started in 1979. The event is one of Ottawa's most important tourist draws, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year...

 takes place during the first 4 weeks of February.

United States


Carnaval celebrations, usually referred to as Mardi Gras, were first celebrated in the Gulf Coast
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

 area of the United States, but now occur in many other states. Customs originated in the onetime French colonial
Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

 capitals of Mobile
Mardi Gras in Mobile
Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama[pronounce] is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in America, having begun in 1703,over 15 years before New Orleans was founded ....

 (now in Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

), New Orleans (Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

) and Biloxi (Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

), all of which have been celebrated for many years with street parades and masked balls. Other major U.S. cities with celebrations include Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

, Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

, San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

, Galveston, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

 and Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

.

Carnaval is celebrated in New York City in the Borough of Brooklyn. As in the UK, the timing of carnaval has been separated from the Christian calendar and is celebrated on Labor Day Monday, in September. It is called the West Indian Day Parade or West Indian Day Carnaval, and was founded by immigrants from Trinidad, one of the West Indian islands that has one of the largest Carnavals of the Caribbean region. In the mid twentieth century, West Indians moved the timing of the New York area Carnaval from the beginning of Lent to the Labor Day weekend. The West Indian Day Carnaval is one of the largest parades and street festivals in New York with usually over one million people participating or attending. The parade, which consists of steel bands, floats, elaborate carnaval costumes and sound trucks proceeds down Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood.
Louisiana


The best-known, most elaborate, and most popular events are in New Orleans, while other South Louisiana cities such as Lafayette
Lafayette, Louisiana
Lafayette is a city in and the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, United States, on the Vermilion River. The population was 120,623 at the 2010 census...

, Mamou
Mamou, Louisiana
Mamou is a town in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 3,566 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Mamou is located at ....

, Houma
Houma, Louisiana
Houma is a city in and the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, and the largest principal city of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's powers of government have been absorbed by the parish, which is now run by the Terrebonne Parish...

,and Thibodaux
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Thibodaux is a small city in and the parish seat of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, United States, along the banks of Bayou Lafourche in the northwestern part of the parish. The population was 14,431 at the 2000 census. Thibodaux is a principal city of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux...

 all of which were under French control at one time or another, are the sites of famous Carnaval celebrations of their own.

Major Mardi Gras celebrations are spreading to other parts of the United States, such as the Mississippi Valley region of St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Orlando, Florida in Universal Studios, and in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

.

Argentina


In Argentina, the most representative carnaval performed is the so called Murga
Murga
Murga is a form of popular musical theatre performed in Uruguay and in Argentina during the Carnival season. Murga groups operate in Montevideo and at the Buenos Aires Carnival, though to a lesser extent than in Montevideo; the Argentine murga is more centred on dancing and less on vocals than the...

, although other famous carnaval, more Brazilian stylized, are held in the Argentine Mesopotamia and the North-East. Gualeguaychú
Gualeguaychú, Entre Ríos
Gualeguaychú is a city in the , on the left bank of the Gualeguaychú River . It is located on the south-east of the province, approximately 230 km north-west of Buenos Aires...

 in the east of Entre Ríos
Entre Ríos Province
Entre Ríos is a northeastern province of Argentina, located in the Mesopotamia region. It borders the provinces of Buenos Aires , Corrientes and Santa Fe , and Uruguay in the east....

 province is the most important carnaval city and has one of the largest parades, with a similar afro-American musical background to Brazilian or Uruguayan Carnaval. Corrientes is another city with a lively carnaval tradition. Chamame, a kind of polka
Polka
The polka is a Central European dance and also a genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia...

 is played during the carnavals. In all major cities and many towns throughout the country, Carnaval is also celebrated, but less famous than in the above mentioned places.

As carnaval coincides with summer, in many parts of Argentina children play with water. The 19th century tradition of filling empty egg shells with water has evolved into water games that include the throwing of water balloons.

Bolivia


La Diablada carnaval, takes place in the city of Oruro
Oruro, Bolivia
Oruro is a city in Bolivia with a population of 235,393 , located about equidistant between La Paz and Sucre at approximately 3710 meters above sea level. It is the capital of the department of Oruro....

 in central Bolivia. It is celebrated in honor of the patron saint of the miners, Vírgen de Socavon (the Virgin of the Tunnels). Over 50 parade groups dance, sing and play music over a five kilometre-long course. Participants dress up as demons, devils, angels, Incas and Spanish conquerors. There are various kinds of dances such as caporales and tinkus. The parade runs from morning until late at night, 18 hours a day, 3 days before Ash Wednesday. Meanwhile throughout the country celebrations are held involving traditional rhythms and water parties. In Santa Cruz de la Sierra, at the east side of the country, the tropical weather allows a Brazilian-type carnaval, with agropuations of people called "Comparsas" dancing traditional songs in matching uniforms. Declared the 2001 "Masterpieces of Oral Heritage and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" for UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...


Brazil


The Carnaval in Brazil is a big part of the Brazilian Culture, and it is sometimes referred to by the Brazilians as the "Greatest Show on Earth".

Salvador
Salvador, Bahia
Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first...

 has large Carnaval celebrations, including the Axé
Axe
The axe, or ax, is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood; to harvest timber; as a weapon; and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol...

, typical Bahia music. A truck with giant speakers and a platform where musicians play songs of local genres such as Axé music
Axé music
Axé is a popular music genre originating in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil approximately in 1986, fusing different Afro-Caribbean genres, such as Marcha, Reggae, and Calypso. It also includes influences of Afro-Brazilian music such as Frevo, Forró and Carixada. The most important creator of this music...

, Samba-reggae and Arrocha
Arrocha
The Arrocha is a music/dance style that originated in the interior of Bahia, one of Brazil's states, most notably in the city of Candeias....

, is driven with the following crowd both dancing and singing. It was originally staged by two Salvador musicians, Dodo & Osmar, in the 1950s. Several cities in the state of Bahia still celebrate Carnaval this way, with as most popular the carnaval of Porto Seguro.

Another important part of the Brazilian Carnaval takes place in the Rio Carnaval, with samba school
Samba school
A samba school is a club or dancing school. They practice and often perform in huge square-compounds devoted to practicing and exhibiting samba, an African-Brazilian dance. The schools are traditionally associated with a particular neighborhood, often shanty towns...

s
parading in the Sambadrome
Sambadrome
The Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí or simply Sambadrome, is a purpose-built parade area in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where samba schools parade competitively each year during the Rio Carnival...

 ("sambódromo" in Portuguese). It's the largest carnaval event in this country, considered to be the largest of the kind in the world. Called "One of the biggest shows of the Earth", the festival attracts millions of tourists, both Brazilians and foreigners who come from everywhere to participate and enjoy the great show. Samba Schools are large, social entities with thousands of members and a theme for their song and parade each year. Tourists are allowed to participate, paying ($500–750) to buy a Samba costume and dance in the parade through the Sambadrome with one of the schools. The price paid is used to buy the tourist's own costume and also the costumes of the people who do not have the money to afford it. Blocos are generally small informal groups also with a definite theme in their samba, usually satirical of the current political situation. But there are also a lot, about 30 of them in Rio de Janeiro, that are very big in number of participants, gathering hundreds of thousands of people. There are more than 400 blocos in Rio de Janeiro. Bandas are samba musical bands, usually formed by enthusiasts in the same neighborhood.

In 2011, the carnaval of Brazil, which is held 46 days before Easter, started on Friday with feasts and fanfare and samba parades on the streets of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The most famous holiday event in Brazil, which occurs around Brazil and most of South America, known as Carnaval, is happening from March 4 to 8 this year. In Picture: Revellers parade for Rosas de Ouro samba school during Carnaval in São Paulo March 5, 2011.


Colombia




Although Carnaval was introduced by the Spaniards and has incorporated elements from the European cultures, it has managed to re-interpret traditions that belonged to the African and Amerindian cultures of Colombia. There is documentary evidence that Carnaval existed in Colombia in the 18th century and had already been a cause for concern for the colonial authorities, who censored the celebrations, especially in the main political centres such as Cartagena
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena de Indias , is a large Caribbean beach resort city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region and capital of Bolívar Department...

, Bogotá
Bogotá
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...

 and Popayán
Popayán
Popayán is the capital of the Colombian department of Cauca. It is located in southwestern Colombia between Colombia's Western Mountain Range and Central Mountain Range...

.

The Carnaval, therefore, continued its evolution and re-interpretation in the small and at that time unimportant towns where celebrations did not offend the ruling elites. The result was the uninterrupted celebration of Carnaval festivals in Barranquilla
Barranquilla
Barranquilla is an industrial port city and municipality located in northern Colombia, near the Caribbean Sea. The capital of the Atlántico Department, it is the largest industrial city and port in the Colombian Caribbean region with a population of 1,148,506 as of 2005, which makes it Colombia's...

 (see Barranquilla's Carnaval) which has been recognized as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Barranquilla Carnaval attracts tens of thousands of people from Colombia and around the world, having become several parades done on Friday and Saturday nights beginning on 11 January and ending always with the four-day non-stop festival, which has now been made six days long, beginning on Wednesday, exactly one week prior to Ash Wednesday and ending on Tuesday at 12pm to initiate the next day with the season of Lent. In other villages along the lower Magdalena River
Magdalena River
The Magdalena River is the principal river of Colombia, flowing northward about through the western half of the country. It takes its name from the biblical figure Mary Magdalene. It is navigable through much of its lower reaches, in spite of the shifting sand bars at the mouth of its delta, as...

 in northern Colombia, and in Pasto
Pasto
Pasto, officially San Juan de Pasto, is the capital of the department of Nariño, located in southwest Colombia. The city is located in the "Atriz Valley", on the Andes cordillera, at the foot of the Galeras volcano, at an altitude of 8,290 feet above sea level...

, Nariño (see Blacks and Whites Carnaval) in the south of the country. In modern times, there have been attempts to introduce Carnaval in the capital, Bogotá, in the early 20th century, but it has always failed to gain the approval of authorities. The Bogotá Carnaval has had to wait until the 21st century to be resurrected, this time by the authorities of the city.

Ecuador


In Ecuador, the celebrations have a history that begins before the arrival of Catholicism. It is known that the Huarangas Indians (from the Chimbos nation) used to celebrate the second moon of the year with a festival at which they threw flour, flowers and perfumed water. This once pagan tradition has since merged with the Catholic celebration of Carnaval.

A common feature of Ecuadorian Carnaval is the diablitos (little devils) who play with water. As with snowball fights, the practice of throwing or dumping water on unsuspecting victims is especially revered by children and teenagers, and feared by some adults. Throwing water balloons, sometimes even eggs and flour both to friends and strangers passing by the street can be a lot of fun but can also raise the ire of unfamiliarised foreigners and even locals.

Although the government as well as school authorities forbid such games, it is still widely practiced throughout the country. Historians tell of a Bishop in 1867 who threatened the punishment of excommunication for the sin of playing Carnaval games.

Different festivities are held in various regions of the country, where the locals wear disguises with colorful masks and dance to the rhythm of lively music. Usually, the celebrations begin with the election of the Taita Carnaval (Father Carnaval) who will head the festivities and lead the parades in each city.

The most famed carnaval festivities are those in Guaranda
Guaranda
San Pedro de Guaranda is a city in central Ecuador. It is the capital of Bolívar, a province located in the Andes mountains. The city has is connected by road with other hubs including, Riobamba, Babahoyo and Ambato....

 (Bolivar province) and Ambato (Tungurahua province). In Ambato, the festivities are called Fiesta de las Flores y las Frutas (Festival of the Flowers and Fruits). Other cities have also revived the carnaval traditions with colorful parades, such as in Azogues
Azogues
Azogues is the capital of the province of Cañar in Ecuador. The population of Azogues is 27,866. Azogues is known for its Panama hat industry; the hats are produced primarily for export. The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Azogues....

 (Cañar Province). In Azogues and the Southern Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 in general, the Taita Carnaval is always an indigenous Cañari
Canari
Canari is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.-Population:-References:*...

 dressed for the celebrations. Recently also a celebration has gained prominence in the northern part of the Sierra in the Chota Valley in Imbabura
Imbabura Province
Imbabura is a province in Ecuador. The capital is Ibarra. The people of the province speak Spanish and the Imbaburan Quechua language.Imbabura Volcano is located in the province. Best reached from the town of La Esperanza, the 4,609-meter-high mountain can be climbed in a single day.- Cantons...

 which is a zone of a strong afro-Ecuadorian
Afro-Ecuadorian people
An Afro-Ecuadorian is a member of a group in Ecuador who are descendants of black African slaves brought by the Spanish during their conquest of Ecuador from the Incas. They make up from 3% to 5% of Ecuador's population....

 population and so the Carnaval is celebrated with bomba del chota
Bomba (Ecuador)
Bomba or Bomba del Chota is an Afro-Ecuadorian musical form from the Chota Valley area of Ecuador in the province of Imbabura and Carchi. Its origins can be traced back to Africa via the middle passage and the use of African slave labor during the country's colonial period...

 music.

French Guiana


The Carnaval of French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

 is a major aspect of the culture of that country. Although its roots are in the Creole
Creole peoples
The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriulo, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings...

 culture, everyone participates – mainland French, Brazilians (Guiana has a frontier with Brazil) and Chinese as well as creoles.

Its duration is variable, determined by movable religious festivals: Carnaval begins at Epiphany and ends on Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

, and so typically lasts through most of January and February. During this period, from Friday evening until Monday morning the entire country throbs to the rhythm of the masked balls and street parades. Normal life slows almost to a stop.

Friday afternoons are the time for eating galette des rois (the cake of kings) and drinking champagne. The cake may be flavoured with frangipani, guava
Guava
Guavas are plants in the myrtle family genus Psidium , which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America...

, or coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

.

On Sunday afternoons major parades are staged in the streets of Cayenne
Cayenne
Cayenne is the capital of French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America. The city stands on a former island at the mouth of the Cayenne River on the Atlantic coast. The city's motto is "Ferit Aurum Industria" which means "Work brings wealth"...

, Kourou
Kourou
Kourou is a commune in French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America.Kourou is the location of the Guiana Space Centre, France and ESA's main spaceport.-Geography:...

, and Saint-Laurent du Maroni. Competing groups prepare for months. Dressed according to the agreed theme of the year, they strut along with carnaval floats, drums, and brass bands.

Brazilian groups are also appreciated for their elaborate feathered and sequined costumes. However, they are not eligible for competition since the costumes do not change from one year to the next.

Certain mythical characters appear regularly in the parades:
  • Karolin: A small person dressed in a magpie tail and top hat, riding on a shrew.
  • Les Nèg'marrons: Groups of men dressed in red loincloths, bearing ripe tomatoes in their mouths and their bodies smeared with grease or molasses. These men deliberately try to come in contact with spectators, soiling their clothes.
  • Les makoumés: Men in drag (out of the carnaval context, makoumé is a pejorative term for a homosexual
    Homosexuality
    Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

    ).
  • Soussouris (the bat): a character dressed in a winged leotard from head to foot, usually black in colour. Traditionally malevolent, this character is liable to chase spectators and "sting" them.



A uniquely Creole tradition of this version of carnaval is the so-called touloulous. These are women wearing highly decorative gowns, gloves, masks and headdresses which cover them completely so that they are not only unrecognisable, but the colour of their skin cannot
even be determined. On Friday and Saturday nights of carnaval, touloulou balls are held in so-called universities; in reality, large dance halls that only open in carnaval time. Touloulous get in free, and are even given condoms in the interest of the sexual health of the community. Men also attend the balls, but they have to pay admittance and they are not disguised.
The touloulous pick their dance partners, who may not refuse the dance. Thus, the setup is designed to make it easy for a woman to create a temporary liaison with a man she fancies in total anonymity. Undisguised women are not welcome at the balls. By tradition, if one gets up to dance, the orchestra stops playing. Alcohol is served at bars – the disguised women also pick up men by whispering to them "touloulou thirsty", at which a round of drinks is expected, to be drunk through a straw so as not to unmask in the slightest.

In more modern times, Guyanais men have attempted to turn the tables by staging soirées tololo, in which it's the men who, in disguise, seek partners from undisguised women bystanders.

The final four days of carnaval have a rigid tradition of celebration, and no work is done at all.
  • Sunday: The Grand Parade, in which the competing groups show off their very best.
  • Monday: Marriage burlesque, with men dressed as brides and women as grooms.
  • Tuesday: Red Devil Day, with everyone wearing red or black.
  • (Ash) Wednesday: Dress is black and white only, for the grand ceremony of burning the effigy of Vaval, the King of the Carnaval.


This text is based principally on text in The French wikipedia

Peru



Cajamarca

The town of Cajamarca is considered the capital of Peruvian carnaval. Local residents of all ages as well as tourists dance around the unhsa, or yunsa, a tree adorned with ribbons, balloons, toys, fruits, bottles of liquor, and other prizes.

At a certain point the Mayordomo (governor of the feast) walks into the circle. The governor chooses a partner to go to the unsha, where they attempt to cut down the unsha by striking the tree three times with a machete. The machete is passed from couple to couple as each strikes the tree three times. When the unsha finally falls, the crowd rushes to grab the prizes.

The person who successfully brings down the unsha becomes next year’s governor of the feast.
Violence

The Peruvian carnaval consists mostly of violent games that last all the month of February, extending to early March if Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

 falls on March, but rarely ending when it falls on February. Quoting the Lima police chief "The carnaval is associated with criminal actions" (2007). It has even gone to major consequences.

The Peruvian carnaval incorporates elements of violence and reflects the lately trends of urban violence in the Peruvian society after the internal conflict in Peru
Internal conflict in Peru
It has been estimated that nearly 70,000 people died in the internal conflict in Peru that started in 1980 and, although still ongoing, had greatly wound down by 2000. The principal actors in the war were the Shining Path , the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and the government of Peru.A great...

. Traditionally, Peruvian Andean festivities were held on this period every year because it's the rainy season. It was already violent during the 19th century, but the government managed to regulate it and during the early 20th century it followed the normal trends of partying and parading, while in the second half of the 20th century it has acquired the violent characteristics that it has today, to the point of being banned, first from the streets in 1958 and altogether in 1959 by the Prado government. It consisted basically on water battles in a traditional way, while in later years it includes playing with dirty water, mud, oil and colorants -and also including fighting and sometimes even looting private property and sexual assaults on women; all this to unconsenting passers-by and in a very violent way. It has also become an excuse for criminal gangs to rob people while pretending to play the game. As of 2010, it has become so violent that the government has imposed heavy penalties of up to 8 years in prison for violence during the games (the games themselves are not forbidden, but using violence during the games or coercing others to participate is).

At the end of the carnaval season, in the inner Peruvian towns (and lately in the major cities too), it's customary to cut a tree, called "yunsa" in the mountains and "humisha" in the jungle.

Uruguay



The Carnaval in Uruguay is the longest of the world, with more than 40 days of celebration, generally beginning towards the end of January and through mid March, with celebrations in Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

, the capital, being the largest and brightest. The festival is performed in the European parade style with elements from Bantu and Angolan Benguela cultures imported with slaves in colonial times. The main attractions of Uruguayan Carnaval include two colorful parades called Desfile de Carnaval (Carnaval Parade) and Desfile de Llamadas (Calls Parade, a candombe
Candombe
Candombe is a musical genre that has its roots in the African Bantu, and is proper of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil .Uruguayan Candombe is the most practiced and spread internationally and has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity...

-summoning parade).

During the forty days of celebration, popular theaters called tablados are built in many places throughout the cities, especially in Montevideo. Traditionally formed by men and now starting to be open to women, the different Carnaval groups called mainly Murga
Murga
Murga is a form of popular musical theatre performed in Uruguay and in Argentina during the Carnival season. Murga groups operate in Montevideo and at the Buenos Aires Carnival, though to a lesser extent than in Montevideo; the Argentine murga is more centred on dancing and less on vocals than the...

s, Lubolos or Parodistas perform a kind of popular opera at the tablados, singing and dancing songs that generally relate to social reality and political situation in the country. The 'Calls' groups, basically formed by drummers playing the tamboril
Tamboril
Tamboril may refer to:*Lophius piscatorius, a fish.*Tamboril, Dominican Republic*Tamboril, Ceará in Brazil*Tamboril do Piauí in Brazil...

, perform candombe rhythmic figures. Revelers also wear their festival clothing. Each group has its own theme. Women wearing elegant, bright dressed are called vedettes
Vedette
The French military term vedette , also spelled vidette, migrated into English and other languages to refer to a mounted sentry or outpost, who has the function of bringing information, giving signals or warnings of danger, etc., to a main body of troops...

 and provide the sensual touch to parades.

European archetypes (Pierrot
Pierrot
Pierrot is a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell'Arte whose origins are in the late 17th-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne; the name is a hypocorism of Pierre , via the suffix -ot. His character in postmodern popular culture—in...

, Harlequin
Harlequin
Harlequin or Arlecchino in Italian, Arlequin in French, and Arlequín in Spanish is the most popularly known of the zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dell'arte and its descendant, the Harlequinade.-Origins:...

 and Columbina
Columbina
Columbine is a fictional character in the Commedia dell'Arte. She is Harlequin's mistress, a comic servant playing the tricky slave type, and wife of Pierrot...

) merge with African ancestral elements (the Old Mother or Mama Vieja, the Medicine Man
Medicine man
"Medicine man" or "Medicine woman" are English terms used to describe traditional healers and spiritual leaders among Native American and other indigenous or aboriginal peoples...

 or Gramillero and the Magician or Escobero) in the local version of the festival. As a manifestation of Uruguayan culture and a growing tourist attraction, Uruguayan Carnaval is currently receiving important governmental support.

Venezuela


Carnaval in Venezuela (2 days of festivals, 40 days before Easter) is a time when youth in many rural towns have water fights. Anybody and everybody that is out in the streets during the week of Carnaval is subject to being soaked. Coastal town and provinces celebrate carnaval much more fervently these days than any place in the country. Venezuela regard carnaval about the same way they regard Christmas and Semana Santa (Holy Week; the week before Easter Sunday) when they take the opportunity to visit their families and enjoy this festive time with them.

See also

  • Basler Fasnacht
  • Carny
    Carny
    Carny or carnie is a slang term used in North America and, along with showie, in Australia for a carnival employee, as well as the language they employ...

  • Cologne carnaval
  • Careto
    Careto
    The careto is a young masked man in the carnival tradition from Northeastern Portugal, namely in the village of Podence in Macedo de Cavaleiros municipality...

  • Fair
    Fair
    A fair or fayre is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may ten weeks. ...

  • Federation of European Carnaval Cities
  • Mardi Gras
    Mardi Gras
    The terms "Mardi Gras" , "Mardi Gras season", and "Carnival season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday...

  • Mardi Gras in Mobile
    Mardi Gras in Mobile
    Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama[pronounce] is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in America, having begun in 1703,over 15 years before New Orleans was founded ....

  • Sitalsasthi Carnaval

External links