It’s that time of the year when we take out our elaborate costumes and masks and get on to streets celebrating the Carnival. Carnival 2019 begins on Friday – March 1 till Tuesday – March 5.
What is Carnival? When is it celebrated?
Carnival is a Western Christian and Greek Orthodox festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. Carnival typically occurs during February or early March – the period known as Shrovetide or Pre-Lent.
How is Carnival celebrated?
Carnival typically involves public celebrations such as parades, public street parties and other events combining some elements of a circus. Participants often indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods that they will forgo during Lent. Elaborate costumes and masks are an integral part of the celebration.
Take a look at some Carnivals being celebrated this weekend:
1. Rio Carnival, Brazil
The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro aka Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro is an annual festival held before Lent. It is considered the biggest carnival in the world with two million people on the streets every day. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723. The Carnival began on Friday and ends on Ash Wednesday.
The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revelers, floats, and adornments from numerous samba schools which are located in Rio. Street parades, blocos, and bandas take place throughout the city of Rio during Carnival, the most famous and largest carnival celebration of the world.
2. Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Mardi Gras is celebrated in all of Louisiana for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season.
3. Carnival of Venice, Venice
The Carnival of Venice or Carnevale di Venezia is an annual festival held in Venice, Veneto, Italy. The Carnival ends with the Lent on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras – the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks. Approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival.
Masks have always been an important feature of the Venetian carnival. Venetian masks can be made of leather, porcelain or using the original glass technique. Nowadays, most Italian masks are made with the application of gesso and gold leaf and are hand-painted using natural feathers and gems to decorate.
4. Bahian Carnival, Brazil
Bahian Carnival is the annual carnival festival celebrated in the Brazilian state of Bahia, mainly in its capital, Salvador. It lasts officially for six full days starting on a Thursday and follows the usual five days of carnival. Approximately 2.5 million people – 1.5 million tourists – participate in the festivities every year.
It features many different rhythms and has performances of several music groups. The most traditional presentations are the trio elétrico parades and Afro blocks presentations. It also includes parades, parties, and open-air performances.
5. Goa Carnival
The Goa Carnival begins on Saturday, 2 March and ends on Tuesday, 5 March. Goa Carnival is a festival that celebrates the culture and cuisine of Goa on a grand scale every year. It is a tradition of hedonistic feasts and dancing & drinking bouts before the fasting and abstinence of the season of Lent.
The festivities during Goa Carnival include dancing troupes, revellers wearing masks and costumes usually, electrifying music which is generally performed live, sports competitions, floats & parades and hedonistic pursuits like great food and drinking.
Get ready guys – the Carnival has arrived!