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Masquerade ball at the Carnival of Venice Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnival is traditionally held in Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. Protestant areas usually do not have Carnival celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events. The Brazilian Carnival is one of the best-known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events. The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is the largest carnival in the world, according to the Guinness World Records.[1]



Carnival in Rome circa 1650 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 accounts of the forty days that Jesus 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 Carnival.

While it forms an integral part of the Christian calendar, particularly in Catholic regions, some carnival traditions may date back to pre-Christian times. The ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Bacchanalia may possibly have been absorbed into the Italian Carnival. The Saturnalia, in turn, may be based on the Greek Dionysia and Oriental festivals. While medieval pageants and festivals such as Corpus Christi were church-sanctioned celebrations, carnival was also a manifestation of medieval folk culture. Many local carnival customs are based on local pre-Christian rituals, for example the elaborate rites involving masked figures in the Swabian-Alemannic carnival.

Some of the best-known traditions, including carnival parades and masquerade ball masquerading, were first recorded in medieval Italy. The carnival of Venice was for a long time the most famous carnival. From Italy, carnival traditions spread to the Catholic nations of Spain, Portugal, and France. From France, they spread to the Rhineland of Germany, and to New France 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 Carnival, however the Carnivals 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.


The origin of the name "Carnival" 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, 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.[2]

From carne vale

Folk etymologies[2] exist which state that the word comes from the Late 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 Carnival 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 evidence.[2]

From carrus navalis

Other scholars argue for the origin from the Roman name for the festival of the Navigium Isidis (ship of Isis), where the image of Isis was carried to the sea-shore to bless the start of the sailing season.[3] The festival consisted of a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, that would reflect the floats of modern Carnivals.[4] Modern Carnival shares resemblances with the Navigium Isidis.[5]

Carnival in specific countries



Cape Verde Islands

Carnival was introduced to the Cape Verde Islands by the Portuguese who settled there bringing along Catholic festivities and traditions to the uninhabited islands. The pre-Lenten celebration is considered one of most colorful carnivals of Africa and is celebrated in each of the 9 inhabited islands of the archipelago. The carnival of Mindelo, in the island of Sao Vicente is considered the most animated where a number of groups challenge each other for the yearly prize. The carnival of Cape Verde, especially of Mindelo, have witnessed in recent years considerable influences from Brazilian carnival traditions. The celebration in the neighboring island of Sao Nicolau is considered the most traditional, where incumbent groups celebrate the festival through the narrow colonial streets of Ribeira Brava, culminating in the picturesque town square.




On Saturday evening 25 June 2011, the main street of Solo in Central Java turned into a massive runway as the 4th edition of Solo Batik Carnival was staged before enthusiastic spectators. Presenting "The Amazing Legend" as its main theme, the Carnival 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 Carnival 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 Carnival 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 Carnival 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.


Goan Christians participating at the Goan Carnival, late 20th century Revellers at the modern Goan Carnival In India, Carnival is celebrated on a grand scale in the state of Goa. In Goa, Carnival is known as 'Intruz' (from the Portuguese word Entrudo, an alternative name for Carnival), and the largest celebration takes place in the city of Panaji. The Carnival is unique to Goa in India, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for over four centuries. The Carnival 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.[6]

In Sambalpur Sitalsasthi carnival is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Jyestha; It is celebrated for two days and one night, when the streets come alive with music and fol dances.



Many parts of Belgium celebrate Carnival, typically with costume parades, partying and fireworks. These areas include Heist, Binche, Aalst, Eupen, Malmedy and Kelmis.

The Carnival of Binche has a history dating back at least to the 14th century. Parades are held over the three days before Lent; the most important participants are the Gilles, who go out in traditional costumes on Shrove Tuesday and throw blood oranges to the crowd.[7] In 2003, the Carnival of Binche was recognised as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.[8] The Carnival at Aalst, which is celebrated for the full week preceding Ash Wednesday, received the same recognition in 2010.[9]

Some Belgian cities hold Carnivals later during Lent. One of the best-known is Stavelot, where the Carnival de la Laetare takes place on Laetare Sunday, 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 and dried pig bladders. The town of Halle also celebrates on Laetare Sunday.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city of Ljubu ki holds a traditional Carnival (). Ljubu ki is a member of the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC).


Carla del Ponte as witch at the Rijeka Carnival The most famous Croatian Carnival (Croatian: "karneval", also called "ma kare") is the Rijeka Carnival, during which the mayor of Rijeka hands over the keys to the city to the Carnival master ("me tar od karnevala") and the spirit of the Carnival 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.) "Carnival of Me imurje", northern Croatia (2011)

Many other towns in Croatia's Kvarner region (and in other parts of the country) observe the Carnival period, often incorporating local traditions and celebrating local culture. Just before the end of Carnival, every Kvarner town burns a man-like doll called a "mesopust", who is blamed for all the strife of the previous year. Another famous tradition of "Karneval" are the Zvon ari, 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 Carnival food is fritule, a pastry. This festival can also be called Poklade.

Masks are central to the Carnival 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 Carnivals. One of the most famous is the Senj Summer Carnival the first was 1968. and the tradition stayed. Many other towns in the surroundings also organise Summer Carnivals (Mali Lo inj, Pag, Novi Vinodolski, Fu ine, etc.).


Carnival has been celebrated on the island of Cyprus for centuries, and the tradition is believed to have been established under Venetian rule around the 16th century. It may also have been influenced by Greek traditions, such as festivities for deities such as Dionysus. 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.

Three main parades take place during Carnival. The first is held on the first day, during which the "Carnival King" (either a person in costume or an effigy) 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 Carnival, 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 (Den t kr l ) through Ash Wednesday (Popele n st eda). 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 but does occur in Bohemia as well. While practices vary from region to region, masks and costumes are present everywhere.

Denmark and Norway

Carnival 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, 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 their parents to wake them up on Fastelavns Sunday.

In Norway, students having seen celebrations in Paris introduced Carnival processions, masked balls and Carnival balls to Christiana in the 1840s and 1850s. From 1863, the artist federation kunstnerforeningen held annual Carnival balls in the old freemasons lodge, which inspired Johan Svendsens compositions "Norsk Kunstnerkarneval" and "Karneval in Paris". The following year, Svendsens Festpolonaise was written for the opening procession of the Carnival ball. Edvard Grieg also attended the Carnival, and wrote "aus dem Karneval" (folkelivsbilleder Op. 19). After the Rococo Hall at Grand Hotel opened in 1894, annual balls in the Carnival season were arranged until the hall was destroyed in a fire in 1957. Since 1988, the student organization T rnseilerne have produced annual masquerade balls in Oslo in the historical renovated freemasons lodge in the Carnival tradition, with masks, costumes and processions after attending an opera performance. The Carnival season also includes Fastelavens s ndag (with cream buns) and fastelavensris with decorated branches.


The largest Carnival in England is Notting Hill Carnival. In England, the season immediately before Lent was called Shrovetide. It was a time for confessing sins (shriving) with fewer festivities than the Continental Carnivals. Today, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day, but little else of the Lent-related Shrovetide survived the 16th-century English Reformation. Possibly the only Shrovetide Carnival in the United Kingdom is celebrated in Cowes and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight; it is the first Carnival on the island's long and busy calendar.


The two major Carnivals of France are the Nice Carnival and the Paris Carnival. The Nice Carnival 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 Carnival occurs after the Feast of Fools and dates back to the 16th century or earlier, although it was not held between 1952 and 1957.

Germany, Switzerland and Austria

float]] in the Rosenmontag parade in Cologne, Germany. The Carnival week begins on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday with parades being held during the weekend and finishes on Ash Wednesday, with the main festivities occurring around Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). This time is also called the "Fifth Season." Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in certain cities.

In German-speaking countries, two distinct varieties of Carnivals are held. The Rheinish Carnival is held in the west of Germany, mainly in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate, and is famous for celebrations such as parades and costume balls. Cologne Carnival is the largest and most famous. On Carnival 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" Carnival, known as Fastnacht, takes place in Baden and Swabia (Southwestern Germany), Switzerland, Alsace and Vorarlberg (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.


Vrilissia Carnival The Carnival season in Greece is also known as the Apokri s (Greek: , "saying goodbye to meat"), or the season of the "Opening of the Triodion", so named after the liturgical book used by the church from then until the Holy Week. One of the season's high points is Tsiknop mpt ("Smoke Thursday"), when celebrants enjoy roast beef dinners at taverns or friends' homes; the ritual is repeated the following Sunday. The following week, the last before Lent, is called Tyrin (Greek: , "cheese [week]") because eating meat is not allowed, but dairy products are. The Great Lent begins on "Clean Monday", the day after "Cheese Sunday". Throughout the Carnival season, people disguise themselves as maskar des ("masqueraders") and engage in pranks and general revelry.

Patras holds the largest annual Carnival in Greece; the famous Patras Carnival is a 3-day spectacle replete with concerts, balles masqu s, parading troupes, floats, a treasure hunt 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 Carnival 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 (Thessaly), Kozani (West Macedonia), Rethymno (Crete) and in Xanthi (East Macedonia and Thrace). Specifically Tyrnavos holds an annual Phallus festival, a traditional "phallkloric" event[10] in which giant, gaudily painted effigies of phalluses made of papier mach 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 alcohol spirit. Also every year, to the very beginning (from 1 to 8 January), mostly in regions of the Western Macedonia, there are Carnival fiestas and festivals. The most known of them is the Kastorian Carnival or "Ragoutsaria" (Gr. " ")[11] [tags: Kastoria, KAstorian Carnival, Ragoutsaria, , ]. It is taking place from 6 to 8 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.


The Bus j r s in Hungary In Moh cs, Hungary, the Bus j r s is a celebration held at the end of the Carnival 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.


distinctive masks]] Decorated floats at the Carnival of Viareggio The Battle of the Oranges at carnival of Ivrea The most famous Carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale.

The Carnival in Venice 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 masks, a central feature of the Carnival. Carnival 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 Carnival of Viareggio is one of the most renowned in Europe, and is characterized mainly by its parade of floats and masks caricaturizing popular figures. In 2001, the town built a new "Carnival citadel" dedicated to Carnival preparations and entertainment.

The Carnival of Ivrea is famous for its Battle of the Oranges 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 of Milan the Carnival lasts four more days, ending on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, because of the Ambrosian rite.


U gav n s is a Lithuanian festival that takes place during the seventh week before Easter (Ash Wednesday). Its name in English means "the time before Lent". The celebration corresponds to Carnival holiday traditions in other parts of the world.

U gav n s begins on the night before Ash Wednesday, when an effigy of winter (usually named Mor ) is burnt. A major element of the holiday, meant to symbolize the defeat of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, is a staged battle between La ininis ("porky") personifying winter and Kanapinis ("hempen man")personifying spring. Devils, witches, goats, the grim reaper, and other joyful and frightening characters appear in costumes during the celebrations.


The most popular Carnivals in the Republic of Macedonia are held in Vev ani and Strumica.

The Vev ani Carnival (Macedonian: K , 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 Carnival, the village becomes a live theatre where costumed actors improvise on the streets in roles such as the traditional "August the Stupid."[12]

The Strumica Carnival (Macedonian: , 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 Carnival 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 Carnival Cities. The Strumica Carnival opens on a Saturday night at a masked ball where the Prince and Princess are chosen; the main Carnival 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 Carnival celebrations.


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

Today the largest of the Carnival celebrations takes place in and around the capital city of Valletta and Floriana; however, several more "spontaneous" Carnivals take place in more remote areas. The Nadur Carnival is notable for its darker themes. In 2005, the Nadur Carnival hosted the largest-ever gathering of international Carnival 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 over the Turks, and an 18th century court dance known as il-Maltija. Food eaten at the Carnival 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.


Carnival in the Netherlands is also called "Vastenavond" or "Vastelaovend(j)", and is most celebrated in Catholic regions, mainly the southern provinces North Brabant and Limburg. Dutch Carnival is officially celebrated on the Sunday through Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. Although traditions vary from town to town, some common characteristics of Dutch Carnival include a parade, a "prince" plus cort ge ("Council of 11"), a farmer's wedding (boerenbruiloft), and eating herring (haring happen) on Ash Wednesday.

One variant of Dutch Carnival is known as the Rijnlandsche Carnival, which can be seen in the province of Limburg. The province's capital of Maastricht holds a street Carnival featuring elaborate costumes that resemble some South American and Venetian influences. Intentionally amateurish marching bands ('Zaate Hermeniekes' or 'Drunken Marching Bands') traditionally perform on the streets.

The oldest-known Dutch Carnival 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 Carnival, 's-Hertogenbosch changes its name to "Oeteldonk", which means "Frog Hill." This name changing tradition is common in and around North Brabant.


The Polish Carnival Season includes Fat Thursday (Polish: T usty Czwartek), when p czki (doughnuts) are eaten, and ledzik (Shrove Tuesday) 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 Carnival is the kulig, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered countryside. In modern times, Carnival is increasingly seen as an excuse for intensive partying and night-clubbing, and has become more commercialized with stores offering Carnival-season sales.


Sesimbra Carnival, Portugal Carnival in Portugal is celebrated throughout the country, most famously in Ovar, Sesimbra, Madeira, Loul , Nazar , and Torres Vedras. The Carnivals in Podence and Lazarim incorporate pagan traditions such as the careto, while the Torres Vedras celebration is probably the most typical Portuguese Carnival.

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 Carnival celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, samba and other Brazilian musical elements.

Carnival 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 Carnival 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 Carnival. 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 Carnival 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 wide varieties 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 Carnival 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 Carnival doll, is burned.

In Estarreja in the Central region of Portugal, the town's first references to Carnival 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 Carnival 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, Carnival 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 Pa o and the do Rossio in Canas de Senhorim.

One of the most famous Carnival 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 Carnival Parade. Participants and their families work year-round to prepare their elaborate and humorous costumes, masks, decorations and floats. Its Carnival parade features troupes with themed costumes and music, ranging from the traditional to modern pop culture.

In Lisbon, Portugal's largest city, Carnival is a more cosmopolitan affair. Parades, dances and festivities throughout the week feature famous stars from Portugal and Brazil. The Loures Carnival 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 Carnival and the festivities.

North of Lisbon is the famous Torres Vedras Carnival, described as the "most Portuguese in Portugal." Those looking for a less touristy Carnival 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 Carnival. 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 Carnival parades. Besides the themed floats and cars, the Carnival festivities include "samba" groups, bands, dances and plenty of music and liveliness. In the city of Loul , the Carnival parade annually attracts thousands of national and foreign tourists to the region.


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

On S o Miguel Island, Carnival has a sweet taste with street vendors selling fried dough, called a Malassada. The festival on the Azores 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 Carnival parade fills the streets into the wee hours ending in fireworks.

Some of the islands more unique aspects to Carnival are the theatre performances and dances. In the "Dan as 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 Carnival" are allegorical and comedic tales acted out in the streets throughout the festival. The largest is in "Angra do Hero smo", with more than 30 Carnival groups performing. During this festival, it is said there are more Portuguese-language theatrical performances occurring here than anywhere else in the world.

The Carnival 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 "Carnival clown", signaling the end of the Carnival.


On the Island of Madeira, Carnival maintains its distinctive local roots as well. Funchal, the island's capital, wakes up on the Friday morning before Ash Wednesday to the sound of brass bands and Carnival parades throughout the downtown area. That night festivities continue with concerts and shows in the Pra a do Munic pio for five consecutive days. The Main Carnival street parade takes place on Saturday evening with thousands of Samba dancers flooding the streets of Funchal. The traditional public street Carnival takes place on Tuesday, where the island's population displays its ingenuity and imagination by creating daring caricatures for the parade.


Boris Kustodiev's painting of Maslenitsa Maslenitsa (, also called Pancake Week or "Cheese Week") 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 masquerades, 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.

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


In Slovakia, the Fa iangy (fa iang, fa angy) takes place from Three Kings Day (Traja kr li) until the midnight before Ash Wednesday ( kared streda or Popolcov streda). At the midnight marking the end of fa iangy, a symbolic burial ceremony for the contrabass is performed, because music has to cease for the Lent.


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 Carnival festival is traditionally held in annually in the town of Ptuj (see: Kurentovanje). The special feature of the event of Ptuj 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, where the Carnival tradition is alive is Cerknica. The Carnival is heralded by a figure called "Poganji " carrying a whip. In the Carnival procession, organised by the "Pust society", a monstrous witch named Ur ula is driven from Mt. Slivnica, to be burned at the stake on Ash Wednesday. Unique to this region is a group of dormice, driven by the Devil, and a huge fire-breathing dragon. Cerkno and its surrounding area is known for the Laufarji, Carnival figures with artistically carved wooden masks.

The Ma kare 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.


Arguably the most famous locales in Spain are Santa Cruz, Las Palmas, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltr , Tarragona, Solsona, C diz, Badajoz, Bielsa (an ancestral Carnival celebration), Plan, San Juan de Plan, Laza, Ver n, Viana and Xinzo de Limia.


A choir singing in the Carnival of C diz

In C diz the costumes worn are often related to recent news, such as the bird flu epidemic in 2006, during which many people were disguised as chickens. The feeling of this Carnival 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 comparsas. 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 "Carnival Tango", and they alternate comical and serious repertory. The comparsas are the serious counterpart of the chirigota in C diz, and the poetical lyrics and the criticism are their main ingredients. They have a more elaborated polyphony, being easily recognizable by the typical countertenor voice.

Canary Islands

Santa Cruz]]

The Santa Cruz and Las Palmas is together with the Carnival of Cadiz, the most important festival for Spanish tourism and Spain's largest Carnival.[13][14][15][16] In 1980 it was declared a Festival Tourist International Interest, by the Secretariat of State for the Tourism. Every February, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the largest of the Canary Islands, hosts the event, attracting around a million people. The celebrations could be declared by UNESCO as Heritage of Mankind in 2011. Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site.[17]

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 Carnivals of the World. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site.[17] This declaration by UNESCO will, occur, further promoting international had Santa Cruz de Tenerife, being the first Carnival 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 "Carnival Chicharrero" Cuban singer Celia Cruz with orchestra Billo's Caracas Boys, attended by 250,000 people, was registered in the Guinness of Records as the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza to attend a concert, a record she holds today.

The Carnival of Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) has a Drag Queen's gala where a jury chooses a winner.


Donkeys of Solsona, hung in the tower bell. 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 (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).

Carnival de Solsona takes place in Solsona, Lleida in central Catalonia. It is one of the longest Carnivals in Catalonia; free events in the streets, and concerts every night, run for more than a week. The Carnival 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 Carnival and takes place on Saturday night. For this reason, the inhabitants of Solsona are called "matarrucs" ("donkey killers"). Photo:[18]

Another characteristic of the Carnival 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:[19]

"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:

Sitges: This Carnival is one of the most famous Carnivals in Catalonia. Special food includes xatonades (a xat 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 Carnival of Vilanova i la Geltr 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 Carnival are rivals.

Tarragona has one of the most complete ritual sequences of the Catalan Carnivals. The events start with the building of a huge barrel and end with its burning together with the effigies of the Carnival King and Queen. On Saturday, the main parade takes place. There are masked groups, zoomorphic figures, music and percussion bands, and groups with fireworks (the devils, the dragon, the ox, the female dragon). Carnival 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.


For almost five centuries, the local Greek communities throughout Istanbul clebrated pre-Lent carnival with weeks of bawdy parades, lavish balls and street parties. This continued for weeks before the 40-day Lent period. At Shrove Monday, the last day of the carnival season, took place Baklahorani. The event was led by the Greek Orthodox community, but the celebrations were public and inter-communal and brought everyone together for one final celebration in the Kurtulu district of the city.[20] There has been a recent revival initiative of Baklahorani from 2010.[21]

North America


Most of the islands in the Caribbean celebrate Carnival. The largest and most well-known celebration is held in Trinidad and Tobago. The Dominican Republic, Antigua, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Cura ao, Barbados,, Dominica, Haiti, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Maarten, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are also known for lengthy carnival seasons and large celebrations.

Carnival is an important cultural event on the Dutch Antilles islands of Aruba, Cura ao, 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. Carnival on these islands also includes a middle-of-the-night j'ouvert (juv ) 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.

Carnival 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, Carnival's religious overture was suppressed. The events remained, albeit frowned upon by the state. Carnival celebrations have been in decline throughout Cuba since 1960.


Carnival 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, Carnival officially comes to end with the symbolic burning of "King Momo."


The Antiguan Carnival 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 juv ), in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island's population. Barbuda's Carnival, held in June, is known as Caribana. The Antiguan and Barbudan Carnivals replaced the Old Time Christmas Festival in 1957, with hopes of inspiring tourism in Antigua and Barbuda. Some elements of the Christmas .


Carnival in Barbados is known as Crop Over. Crop 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 Carnival in Trinidad. In the late 20th century, the general schematic of Crop Over began to closely mirror the Trinidad Carnival. 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 expos s 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 Ca