The time for Carnival celebrations has begun throughout the world!
History of Carnival
The exact origins of this festivity is not certain, though it may be traced backed to the Medieval Latin word(s): carnem levare or carnelevarium, which mean to remove meat. Because the celebrations are thought of as the final festivity before the period of Lent during which Roman Catholics would abstain from eating meat in earlier times, this derivation makes perfect sense.
Where the history of Carnival begins is also unsure. It may be rooted in the primitive festival, which honored the beginning of the new year and rebirth of nature. Or, perhaps it is linked to the pagan Saturnalian festival of ancient Rome. Either way, the founders of the idea probably didn’t imagine it would turn into the eccentric dance, drink and be merry festival it has today!
Worldwide Carnival Celebrations
Probably the most famous Carnival celebration takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find elaborate and fabulous festivities here in Europe either! Where are the best places to celebrate Carnival in Europe?
Located in the Canary Islands of Spain is perhaps the most famous Carnival celebrations behind Rio. This year’s celebration runs from February 3-14th, so preparations are in full swing! The festival is one of the most important to the people of Tenerife, and the entire year can be spent planning the floats, costumes and designs. During the peak times, more than 250,000 people can be found in the main streets and squares dancing to traditional Latin music, drinking and dressed up in elaborate costumes.
The Carnival of Italy’s city on water began January 23 and runs through February 9th. During the Carnival you will find masked party-goers invading the streets, singing dancing and simply enjoying the party! The biggest excitement comes during the weekend and the not to be missed is the election of the year’s best costume- decided on the final day, February 9th. The most famous spot to join in is at St. Mark’s Square, so get a mask and get over there! Only a few days left!
Like the Venetian Carnival, masks are an important part of the costume. This year’s celebration takes place from February 13th-28th with the theme being “King of Media”. The final days of the festival culminate on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) where the people each as much heavy, fatty food as possible before the abstinent period begins the following day. Not sure what to expect? Check out the video here!
The Carnival of Cadiz is one of the most extravagant in Europe, taking place this year from February 4th-14th. There are processions, concerts, shows, fireworks and tons of dancing, drinking and singing in the streets. The “Chirigotas” or satirical songs about the current Spanish news and politicians are a popular aspect of this Carnival!