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Carnival float in the Rosenmontag parade in Cologne, Germany

Carnival (Carnaval, Καρναβάλι (Carnavali), Carnevale, Carnaval, Karneval, Carnaval and Karnawał in Portuguese, Greek, Italian, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and Polish languages) 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 a festival traditionally held in Roman 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 Carnaval is one of the best-known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events. These include the Carnevale of Venice and the Carnevale of Viareggio, Italy, the German Rhineland carnivals, centering on the Carnivals in Dusseldorf, Cologne and Mainz; the carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; in Andalusia(Spain)Carnival of Cádiz ; the carnaval of Torres Vedras, Portugal; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rijeka, Croatia; Barranquilla, Colombia; the Carnaval and the Llamadas in Montevideo, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. In the United States, the famous Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, date back to French and Spanish colonial times.

Length and individual holidays

While the starting day of Carnival varies, the festival usually builds up to a crescendo in the week before lent, ending on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In the Ambrosian rite of Milan (Italy), the carnival ends on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday. In areas in which people practice Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Carnival ends on the Sunday seven weeks before Easter, since in Eastern tradition lent begins on Clean Monday.

Most common the season begins on Septuagesima, the first Sunday before Ash Wednesday. In some places it starts as early as Twelfth Night (January 6) or even in November. The most important celebrations are generally concentrated during the last days of the season before Ash Wednesday.

Etymology

The origin of the name "carnival" is disputed. Variants in Italian dialects suggest that the name comes from the Italian carne levare or similar, meaning "to remove meat", since meat is prohibited during Lent.[1]

A different explanation states 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. Yet another translation depicts carne vale as "a farewell to the flesh", a phrase embraced by certain carnival celebrations that 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.[1]

Another possible explanation comes from the term "Carrus Navalis" (ship cart), the name of the roman festival of Isis, where her image was carried to the sea-shore to bless the start of the sailing season.[2] The festival consisted in a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, that would reflect the floats of modern carnivals.[3]

Carnival in different places

Asia

India

Goan Christians participating at the Goan Carnival, late 20th century

In India, Carnival is celebrated in two states: Goa and Kerala.

Goa

Goa (which was a Portuguese colony) has a long tradition of celebrating "Carnival" known as Intruz (possibly from the Portuguese word Entrudo, another name for Carnival) with colorful masks and floats. The city of Loutulim has the largest carnival which sees merry residents gathered on the streets amid beating of drums and reverberating music. The celebrations run three days culminating in a carnival parade on fat Tuesday. There is participation of a large number of tourists. Dance troupes performed skits before throwing water on each other. After the revelry, song and dance, great food and good wine come together beautifully. After partying, the crowds enjoy a delightful Goan cuisine at a buffet dinner.

Hippies at the modern Goan Carnival
Kerala

In contrast, the state of Kerala has very different celebrations. The festival is called "Raasa" (means fun in Sanskrit and in early malayalam). No masks are worn, but there is music and festivities, sometimes with fireworks. The Raasas are organized on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday by local catholic churches, and usually culminate in a public mass or a mass conducted in the church. Even though mostly Syrian or Roman Catholic Christians only take part in Raasa Parade (which is considered the religious part), both Hindus and Muslims join to watch and join the public mass by Christians in the festivities. There is no food at the end of the celebration but there are fireworks organized by some churches. People however offer half boiled or raw rice for the "Chembeduppu" ceremony in large copper vessels ("Chembu") kept at the Church. The copper vessels carrying the half-boiled rice were taken out in a Raasa procession by the faithfuls with traditional Church orchestra playing the accompaniment. The golden and the silver cross as well as the Papal and Catholicate flags were also taken out with the Raasa procession.

Europe

Belgium

Many Belgian towns celebrate Carnival, typically with costume parades, partying and fireworks.

The city of Aalst celebrates Carnival during a whole week leading up to Ash Wednesday.[4] In 2010 it will most probably be recognised as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.[5]

The main parades of the Carnival of Binche stretch over the three days before Lent. The most important participants are the Gilles, who go out in their traditional costumes on Mardi Gras and throw blood oranges to the crowd.[6] Carnival in Binche has a history dating back at least to the 16th century. In 2003, the Carnival of Binche was recognised as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.[7]

Other large carnival celebrations are held in Malmedy.

Some Belgian cities hold carnivals later during Lent. One of the best known is Stavelot, where the Carnaval de la Laetare takes place on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. The most well-known participants are the Blancs-Moussis, dressed in white and wearing long red noses. They parade through town throwing confetti and beating bystanders with dried pig bladders. Another large carnival celebration on Laetare Sunday is held in Halle.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city of Ljubuški has a traditional carnival (Croatian: Karneval). Ljubuški is city member of the FECC or Federation of European Carnival Cites.

Croatia

The Croatian city of Rijeka has a long and rich tradition of celebrating the time of the Carnival (Croatian: "karneval", but the period is also often called "maškare"). During the Carnival the mayor of Rijeka hands over the keys of the city to the master of the Carnival ("meštar od karnevala") and the spirit of the Carnival takes over completely. There are many festive events during the Carnival, and the culmination of them all is the famous masked procession held on the last Sunday of the Carnival. The procession is international, and there are participants from many different countries. There are many viewers and there are big tents put up in the city with food, drinks and music. There is also a masked procession for children, held on the Saturday of the week before the main procession.

Carla del Ponte as witch on Rijeka carnival

Although the Rijeka carnival (Riječki karneval) is the most famous of all carnivals in Croatia, most towns and villages of the Croatian Primorje region (the northern seaside region, also called Kvarner) observe the Carnival period in some way, and many areas of Primorje have their own special traditions (e.g. "maškaroni" in the Novi Vinodolski area). The Carnival is a time filled with local traditions so the entire region enjoys a much higher than usual amount of exposure to local food, local music and the local non-standard variety of the Croatian language: "čakavština"(just about everything about "karneval" is handled speaking in "čakavština").

Just before the end of the Carnival and the beginning of Lent, every town in the region of Kvarner burns its own man-like doll, called "mesopust" or shorter "pust", which is "blamed" for all the bad events of the previous year and given an ironic name, usually alluding to politics.

One of the most famous traditions of "karneval" are "zvončari" (bell-ringers). They take part in many of the period's festivities and "zvončari of Halubje" are the last group of the main procession of the Carnival of Rijeka. They are men with loud bells attached to them, thick pieces of wood in their hands, sailor T-shirts and some kind of head regalia. The kind of head regalia they wear depends on where they are from; those from Halubje, who are the most renowned, wear large heads, reminiscent of animal heads, and those from Frlanija, for example wear large cone-shaped regalia covered with floral decorations. The tradition of "zvončari" is a long-standing one and started many centuries ago when men ritually tried to scare winter away with animal-like "heads" and ringing bells loudly in a manner which was meant to induce fear.

The population enjoys the many concerts and parties of the period, sporting many various non-traditional masks. Most schools allow students and faculty to be masked for a day, and elementary schools organize dances. Masked children go trick-or-treating. The traditional Carnival food, such as "fritule", is eaten.

Although the Carnival traditions of Kvarner are the most renowned ones, there are other Carnival traditions and manifestations in Croatia, most notably those of "poklade" and "fašnik", pertaining to regions in inner Croatia. The most notable are the festivities of the area of the town Samobor.

Cyprus

In Cyprus, the Carnival is celebrated for 10 consecutive days just before the beginning of Lent. The Carnival had been celebrated for centuries on the island by dressing up, holding masked balls and visiting friend's houses in fancy costumes. It is believed that the tradition was established during the Venetian rule. It is also believed ancient Greek traditions might have contributed as well. Such traditions include festivities for Greek deities such as Dionysus. However, it is during the past one hundred years or so that an organised festival takes place annually. The festival is celebrated almost exclusively in the city of Limassol, which holds the largest annual carnival on the island. In Cyprus, the carnival season changes according to the Greek Orthodox calendar.

There are three main parades taking place. The first one takes place on the first day of the Carnival, during which the "Carnival King" goes around the centre of the city on his carriage. The King can be either a real person in a costume or an artistically made effigy. The parade one takes place on the first Sunday of the festival, and the participants are mainly children. The third parade is the largest one and takes place on the last day of Carnival, before the Monday that marks the beginning of Lent. During this parade several groups in costumes, which often consist of hundreds of people, walk along the longest avenue of the town. It is important to mention that in either of the Sunday parades, the majority of the participants are ordinary citizens, while everyone is entitled to taking part in the parades.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the Masopust festival takes place from Epiphany (Den tří králů) until Ash Wednesday (Popeleční středa). The word masopust translates literally from old Czech to mean "meat fast" and the festival often includes a pork feasts in preparation for Lent. The tradition is most common in Moravia but does occur in Bohemia as well. While tradition varies from region to region, masks and costumes are present everywhere.

Denmark

As Halloween also is a commercial event to accelerate sales through all the toy shops, the steady advertising for it, has influenced some Danes to hold this event. The great influence through television series, which in the main part are imported from the US, also add to this development. Some Danes reuse the carnival costumes from Fastelavn, which is the name for main Carnival in Denmark. Fastelavn evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark became a Protestant nation, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games.

Etymology

The term "Fastelavn" is a Low Saxon loanword imported from Northern Germany: Fastelavend [ˈfastl̩.ˌɒːvm̩t], Fastelabend [ˈfastl̩.ˌɒːbm̩t] and Fastlaam (also spelled Fastlom) [ˈfastl̩ɒːm], related to Low Saxon Vastelaovend in the southern parts of the Netherlands and to Dutch Vastenavond.

Festivities

Some towns in Denmark are renowned for their large Fastelavn festivities and parades. Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a piñata. The Danes use a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and has the image of a cat on it. Historically there was a real black cat in the barrel, and beating the barrel was superstitiously considered a safeguard against evil. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").

Fastelavnsboller (baked buns often with raisins)

In Denmark and Norway a popular baked good associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. "Fastelavns bun", also known in English as "shrovetide bun" or "lenten bun"), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Similar buns are eaten in other northern European countries, for example the Swedish Semla. Ísafjörður is the only town in Iceland that celebrates Fastelavn on the same day as the Nordic countries, the day being known as Maskadagur (from the Danish word maske, meaning to dress-up or put on a mask).

There seem to be some small local traditions which are closer to the carnival traditions of other countries, including Ash Wednesday, Carnival parades, Pancake Tuesday and eating special food after Ash Wednesday, but they are not particular to Danish culture.

Another popular custom (especially among the children) is the "fastelavnsris", with which children ritually flog their parents to wake them up on the morning of Fastelavns Sunday (Quinquagesima).

Fastelavnsris have many shapes and forms and differ from area to area. In some areas they are bunches of twigs, usually from fruit trees and preferably with buds. Those are often decorated with feathers, egg-shells, storks and little figures of babies. In other areas, they are a bent willow-branch, shaped like an ankh and wound with crepe paper that has frizzles cut with scissors. Both varieties may be decorated with candy as well.

The custom is known already in the 1700s in Denmark and it has several roots. There is probably no doubt the custom originates from an old fertility ritual, which has been absorbed into Christianity. The more serious one is that after the reformation, particularly pious people used to flog their children on Good Friday to remind them of the sufferings of Christ on the cross. A similar custom is mentioned in the book "Frauenzimmerlexicon", published in 1715 in Leipzig (Germany), which describes how bachelors and virgins "bid each other goodmorning" by flogging each other and spreading ashes on each other. This custom is also known in Denmark.

Earlier, it was mainly the young women and the infertile who were flogged. It was also common that a young man would carry his "fastelavnsris" and (of course gently) strike at young women he met on the street. Later it became the children's special right to flog their parents on this day. In any case, the reward given for the flogging would be a fastelavnsbolle.

Germany, Switzerland and Austria

The "Council of Eleven" (Elferrat) is a German tradition dating from 1823. The members, wearing fool's caps as their official headgear, meet annually on November 11 at 11:11 a.m. to plan the events for the next Karneval.

In German-speaking countries there are essentially two distinct variations of carnivals: the Rhenish Carnival in the west of Germany centred around the cities of Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mainz, and the Alemannic or Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht in Swabia (Southwestern Germany), Switzerland, Alsace and Vorarlberg (Western Austria). The Rhenish Carnival (Rheinischer Karneval), mainly in the states of (North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate) is famous for celebrations such as parades and costume balls. Cologne carnival is the largest and most famous. Cologne, along with Düsseldorf and Mainz, are held in the public media to be Germany's three carnival "strongholds". However carnival celebrations are widespread elsewhere in the Rhineland, in places such as Wattenscheid, Hagen, Krefeld, Aachen, Mönchengladbach, Duisburg, Bonn, Eschweiler, Bocholt and Cleves. In parts of East and South Germany and Austria the carnival is called Fasching. In Franconia and the southwest-parts and also some other parts of Germany a carnival is called Fastnacht or Fasnet.

Although the festival and party season in Germany starts as early as the beginning of January, the actual carnival week starts on the Thursday ("Weiberfastnacht") before Ash Wednesday. German Carnival parades are held on the weekend before and especially on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), the day before Shrove Tuesday, and sometimes also on Shrove Tuesday ("Faschingsdienstag") in the suburbs of larger carnival cities. The carnival session begins each year on 11 November at 11:11 a.m. and finishes on Ash Wednesday with the main festivities happening around Rosenmontag; this time is also called the "Fifth Season."

While Germany's carnival traditions are mostly celebrated in the predominantly Roman Catholic southern and western parts of the country, the Protestant North traditionally knows a festival under the Low Saxon names Fastelavend [ˈfastl̩.ˌɒːvm̩t], Fastelabend [ˈfastl̩.ˌɒːbm̩t] and Fastlaam (also spelled Fastlom) [ˈfastl̩ɒːm]. This name has been imported to Denmark as Fastelavn and is related to Vastelaovend in the Low-Saxon-speaking parts of the Netherlands. It is traditionally connected with farm servants or generally young men going from house to house in the villages and collecting sausages, eggs and bacon, which was consumed in a festivity on the same evening. While going from house to house they wore masks and made noise. The old tradition vanished in many places, in other places under influence of German carnival traditions it came to resemble carnival with its parades.

Rhineland

In the Rhineland festivities developed especially strongly, since it was a way to express subversive anti-Prussian and anti-French thoughts in times of occupation, through parody and mockery. Modern carnival there began in 1823 with the founding of a Carnival Club in Cologne. Most cities and villages of the Rhineland have their own individual Carnival traditions. Nationally famous are the Carnival in Cologne (Köln), Düsseldorf and Mainz.

In the Rhineland, the Carnival season is considered to be the "fifth season of the year", starting at November 11 at exactly 11:11 a.m. (German: am elften elften um elf Uhr elf). Clubs organize "sessions" which are show events called Sitzung with club members or invited guests performing dance, comedy and songs in costumes. The most frequently performed piece of music during such "sessions" is the "Narrhallamarsch".

The Carnival spirit is then temporarily suspended during Advent and Christmas, and picks up again in earnest in the New Year. The time of merrymaking in the streets is officially declared open at the Alter Markt during the Cologne Carnival on the Thursday before the beginning of Lent. The main event is the street carnival that takes place in the period between the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday. Carnival Thursday is called Altweiber (Old women day) in Düsseldorf or Wieverfastelovend (The women's day) in Cologne. This celebrates the beginning of the "female presence in carnival", which began in 1824, when washer-women celebrated a "workless day" on the Thursday before carnival. They founded committee in 1824 to strengthen their presence in the still male-dominated carnival celebrations. In each city, a woman in black storms the city hall to get the "key" for the city-/townhalls from its mayor. In many places "fools" take over city halls or municipal government and "wild" women cut men's ties wherever they get hold of them. Also, as a tradition, women are allowed to kiss every man who passes their way. On the following days, there are parades in the street organized by the local carnival clubs. The highlight of the carnival period however is Rose Monday (Rosenmontag). Although Rose Monday is not an official holiday in the Rhineland, in practice most public life comes to a halt and almost all workplaces are closed. The biggest parades are on Rose Monday, the famous Rosenmontagszug (Rose Monday Parade), e.g. in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz, and many other cities. During these events, hundreds of thousands of people celebrate in the streets at low temperatures, most of them dressed up in costumes. Almost every town has a special carnival cry (Cologne, Bonn and Aachen: Alaaf!; Düsseldorf and Mainz: Helau!; Mönchengladbach: Halt Pohl! (hold on to the pole); Rheydt: All Rheydt!).

Alemannic Fastnacht

The "Swabian-Alemannic" carnival begins on January 6 (Epiphany/Three Kings Day). This celebration is known as Fastnacht. Variants are Fasnet, Fasnacht or Fasent. Fastnacht is held in Baden-Württemberg, parts of Bavaria, and Alsace. Switzerland and Vorarlberg, in Austria, also hold this celebration. The festival starts on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, known in these regions as Schmutziger Donnerstag or Fettdonnerstag. In standard German, schmutzig means "dirty", but actually the name is from the local dialect where schmotzig means "fat." Elsewhere the day is called "Women's Carnival" (Weiberfastnacht), being the day when tradition says that women take control. In particular regions of Tyrol, Salzburg and Bavaria traditional processions of the Perchten welcome the springtime. The Schönperchten ("beautiful Perchts") represent the birth of new life in the awakening nature, the Schiachperchten ("ugly Perchts")de:Bild:Perchtenmaske.jpg represent the dark spirits of wintertime. Farmers yearn for warmer weather and the Perchtenlauf (Run of Perchts; typical scenery) is a magical expression of that desire. The nights between winter and spring, when evil ghosts are supposed to go around, are also called Rauhnächte ("rough nights").

England

In Intro, the season immediately before Lent was called Shrovetide. It was a time for confessing sins (shriving) with fewer festivities than the Continental Carnivals. Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day, but apart from the serving of pancakes and occasional pancake races and football matches (see Royal Shrovetide Football), little else of the Lent-related Shrovetide survived the English Reformation. One of the few, if not the only, Shrovetide carnivals in the UK takes places in Cowes and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. This is the first carnival of the year on the island, and is the start of a long and busy carnival calendar.

The traditional English carnivals take place later in the year, such as the Leeds Carnival in August and the West Country Carnival in November, associated with Guy Fawkes Night. London now has several major carnivals, such as the Notting Hill Carnival, Nigerian Carnival UK and the Carnaval Del Pueblo, all held in August. Luton Carnival, begun 1976, is in May. St Pauls carnival, an African Caribbean Carnival in its 41st year (as of 2008), usually takes place on the first Saturday of July in Bristol.

Greece

Patras Carnival: the float of King Carnival

The carnival season is also known as the Apókreō (Greek: Ἀπόκρεω, "weaning from 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. Among the high points of the season is Tsiknopémptẽ, "Smoke Thursday", where "smoke" refers to the smokey smell created when meat is roasted over open fire. Tsíkna is an anagram of the Ancient Greek word kníssa, the smoke and smell of roasting meat. On Tsiknopempte most people go out for roast meat dinners, in taverns or friends' houses, a ritual repeated the following Sunday, Apokreo Sunday. The following week, the last before Lent, is called Tyrinē (Greek: Τυρινή, "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 maskarádes ("masqueraders") and engage in pranks and general revelry.

Patras in the Peloponnese, holds the largest annual carnival in Greece, the famous Patras Carnival, with celebrations starting on the week before the beginning of the Great Lent, which falls between late February to early March. It is a 3-day-long spectacle replete with concerts, balles masqués, parading troupes, floats, a treasure hunt and many events for children. The grand parade of masked troupes and floats is held at noon, Tyrine Sunday, and culminates after several hours 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[8] in which giant, gaudily painted effigies of phalluses 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 ouzo liquor.

Hungary

The Busójárás in Hungary

In Mohács in Hungary, the Busójárás 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 carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Acireale and Ivrea

Venice

The carnival in Venice was first recorded in 1268. The subversive nature of the festival is reflected in the many laws created over the centuries in Italy attempting to restrict celebrations and often banning the wearing of masks.

Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, December 26) at the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. As masks were also allowed during Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise. Mask makers (mascareri) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.

In 1797 Venice became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Austrians took control of the city on January 18, 1798 and it fell into a decline which brought carnival celebrations to a halt for many years. It was not until a modern mask shop was founded in the 1970s that a revival of old traditions began.

Viareggio Carnival 2008, Uer iz de parti?
Viareggio

The Carnival of Viareggio is one of the most famous in Italy: it lasts a month with night and day celebrations, floats, parades, district celebrations, masked dances and other shows. In 2001 the new "Citadel" (Carnival town) was inaugurated: a polyfunctional and a great architectonical value structure that includes new hangars for the creation of the floats, the papier-mâché school and a great arena where, during the summer, "Citadel under the stars" review is held, including shows, concerts and cultural initiatives.

Ivrea

The Historic Carnival of Ivrea is mostly known for its Battle of the Oranges, allegory of struggle for freedom. It is valued as one of the most ancient carnivals in the world: during the year 1000 a miller's wife killed the tyrant of the city, King Arduino; from that episode began a civil war between the oppressed people and the king's supporters, finally won by people, and until now every year the citizens remember their liberation with the Battle of the Oranges. Here, teams of "Aranceri" by foot shoot oranges representing ancient arrows and stones against Aranceri on carts, representing Arduino's allies. During the French occupation of Italy in the nineteenth century the Carnival of Ivrea was modified by adding representatives of the French army who help the miller's wife.

Acireale

Parades of allegorical floats and flower floats, into a baroque circuit, are one of the attractions of the Best Carnival in Sicily, a typical carnival night.
The Carnival of Acireale each year attracts visitors from around the world.

Others

In Milan the Carnival lasts four more days, ending on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, because of the Ambrosian rite.
The carnival in Verona is celebrated with a parade of "carri allegorici" on the "Venerdi Gnocolar", which takes place on the last Friday of Carinval, when people eat traditional potato gnocchi.
Also Putignano is well known because of the Carnival, considered one of the main carnivals in Italy since it is the oldest (dated from 1394) and longest Italian carnival: it starts the day after Christmas and finishes the day before the ash Wednesday.

Macedonia

In the Republic of Macedonia there are more carnivals but the most popular and the most beautiful are The Strumica Carnival (Macedonian: Струмички Карневал, translated Strumichki Karneval)and Vevcani Carnival ([[Macedonian language[Macedonian]]: Вевчански Kарневал, translated Vevchanski Karneval).

Vevcani

For over 1,400 years the Vevcani Carnival has been an interesting mix of paganism and modernism. It is held on 13 and 14 January (on the eve and the first day of the New Year, according to the old calendar). The main characteristics of the carnival are: archaism, secretiveness, and improvisation. Its particular features distinguish it from any other carnival worldwide. The home setting of the carnival events is the village of Vevcani, which turns into a boundless theatre, where each house and street is a scene on which disguised people perform plays like real actors.

There are three traditional masks: bridegroom and bride, August the Stupid, and musicians. Other masks are basically major or minor carnival groups, which, by means of their costumes, gesticulations, and moves usually symbolize and ridicule social events and figures.

The role of August the Stupid is particularly distinct. Young energetic people wear this mask and communicate with the audience by means of peculiar movements, gesticulations, and screams.

During the carnival, the disguised participants enjoy every freedom and passion to “place the world upside down” -- a freedom of spirit and creativity and a sense of improvisation, criticism, and sarcasm. Officially, women do not participate in the carnival—they do disguise, but unlike men, do not take off their masks in the end.

In 1993, the Vevcani Carnival and the village of Vevcani joined the World Federation of Carnival Cities under the Republic of Macedonia's constitutional name, despite Greece's disapproval. Closely afterward, Vevcani raised an initiative for the formation of a national carnival association, covering also Strumica, Prilep, and other places, endeavoring to revive the carnival tradition. Vevcani Mayor Vasil Radinoski was the first president of the Macedonian Carnival Association. Through its representatives and carnival groups, the Vevcani Carnival has been presented in other places in the world, while Vevcani has hosted foreign carnival groups, as well. The Vevcani Carnival was the main inspiration for a seminar held in 1996 called “Customs Under Masks,” attended by local and foreign ethnological experts, who presented the main features of the carnival: traditional masks, the appearance of social figures, and elements composing the original contents of the custom. Of course, they made their observation of the innovations incorporated in the traditional custom. The Vevcani Carnival, a particular theatre without walls, has never experienced a cancellation of a performance. With every passing year it attracts increased interest both in the country and abroad.

In addition to the actors themselves, it owes its popularity also to numerous journalist teams, cameramen, and photo-reporters. French ethnologist and photo-reporter Jean-Mari Stenlen visited Vevcani and publicized the story of Vevcani in the Paris Bobur and in other cultural centres of Europe in 1984. His story immortalized the carnival events in an artistic way. He recorded the masks and the events in a spontaneous manner and with a great skill, offering the world a document on Vevcani’s distinctness and the models' harmony with the perfect simplicity of Vevcani’s environment. Several photos of original masks from the Vevcani Carnival by this author were included in the great encyclopedia of European carnivals, published in Paris in 1986.

On the occasion of this carnival, foreign-based natives from Vevcani come home from all over the world in order to take part in the unique performance, abundantly drowned in red wine, which has enough room for every carnival-loving guest.

Strumica

It has a centuries-old tradition and takes place every year in the period of the Christian festival Trimeri, during Lent. The word “carnival” originates from the Latin words: carne – meat and vale – farewell . The carnival represents a vestige of an ancient cult from the pagan time and indicates the glorification of fertility and purification from the spectral energies of the daily routine. In 1670 the Turkish travel-author Evlija Chelebija , while staying in Strumica , wrote: “ 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“. Since 1991 organized form of the carnival has been established. In 1994 Strumica became a member of FECC (Federation of European Carnival Cities) and in 1998 played host to XVIII International Congress of Carnival Cities. The opening of the carnival takes place on Saturday night at a masked ball where the Prince and Princess are chosen. The children’s carnival is on Sunday and the day after is known as Pure Monday. The main carnival night is on Tuesday when not only masked participants from the country, but carnival groups from abroad take part, as well. The participants present various, diverse subjects and are rewarded with individual and group prizes. As of 2000, the Festival of Caricatures and Aphorisms has started under the auspices of the carnival. The festival has international character and takes place during the Trimeri festivities. The theme of the festival is the carnival combined with light eroticism.

Malta

Carnival in Malta (known as Karnival) was first was introduced in 1535 by Grand Master Piero de Ponte, five years after the Knights took over the islands. The main celebration takes place in the capital, Valletta, but in every town and village many people, mostly children, dress up in colourful clothes to camouflage their identity. The Valletta parade includes the King Carnival float followed by about a dozen others. Until some years ago, Carnival was also the event of the year for dances and masked balls. Under the rule of the Knights, the Auberges were left open and were delightfully decorated.

Carnival in Malta is somewhat very popular. By time popularity is increasing and peoples participation in the events is also at an increase. In Malta carnival is usually held in February, during the 5 days preceding Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

For the last years, Carnival in Malta is mostly popular in the village of Nadur, Gozo (the sister island of Malta). It is celebrated the traditional way and is mostly famous for its spontaneous inventions that everyone is able to invent. It is a disorganized carnival in an organized way. It is disorganized as no committee organize it and no rule apply, on the other hand it is organized as everyone especially Nadur residents prepare from months before their original ideas. The highlight is that people wear grotesque masks and scary costumes, with the intention that no one recognizes them, representing every sort of leg pulling, all ways of life and steaming off all kinds of frustrations. There will also be floats with creative ideas, bands and DJ's playing to create a fun atmosphere and bars for the ones who want to drink and try to beat the chilly weather that there is during that time. This event starts at around 9pm till the early hours and it takes place at December 13th Street. It reaches the highlight on Saturday night. In 2005 the Nadur Carnival was the World Carnival Capital by virtue of hosting the largest ever gathering of international Carnival dignitaries and organizers for the global Carnival City summit organized by the Federation of European Carnival Cities

Netherlands

"Vastenavond" or "Vastelaovend" from Sunday till the last day of Carnival, the day before Ash Wednesday, is held exactly 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. Dutch Carnival is most celebrated in Catholic regions, mostly the southern provinces Noord Brabant and Limburg, where it is also known as Vastenavond or Vastelaovend (literally "Fasting evening", although that strictly refers only to the last day, whereas Carnival in the Netherlands usually begins on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday). The most popular places where Carnival is held (although every city, town or village in the south of the Netherlands celebrates it, except for large parts of Zeeland, due to its mainly Protestant poplation) are Weert, Maastricht, Roermond, Heerlen, Valkenburg, Sittard, Venlo, Tilburg, Bergen op Zoom, 's-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Breda, and Prinsenbeek Some of the places, mainly those in Noord Brabant, also adopt different names during carnival, for instance Prinsenbeek is called Boemeldonck and Eindhoven is called Lampegat. Carnival here has been celebrated ever since medieval times and was modernised after WW II, when Bergen op Zoom even continued to celebrate it indoors. In its contemporary form, local music, customs, and traditions play an important role, and regional languages or dialects are emphasized in public communication.

During Dutch Carnival, many traditions are kept alive. First of all is the parade with dressed-up groups, musicians and elaborately built floats. Also traditions include a fake prince plus cortège ("Council of 11"), the boerenbruiloft (farmer's wedding) and the haring happen (eating herring) on Ash Wednesday. However, the traditions vary from town to town.

There are several types of Carnival celebrated in the Netherlands. The best known variant is known as the Rijnlandsche Carnival which can be experienced in the province of Limburg. It shares many folklore traditions with its German and Belgian counterparts. Maastricht is famous not so much for its parades but for its street carnival, with elaborate costumes that people work on all year, a bit like the South American style, but with a strong accent on humour, and bearing resemblance to Italian, mostly Venetian, traditions, culture and costumes. Traditionally, often intentionally amateurish marching bands ('Zaate Hermeniekes' or 'Drunken Marching Bands') perform on the streets, although in more recent years samba bands have seen a steady growth.

Another variety can be found in the province of Noord-Brabant, e.g. in Tilburg, 's-Hertogenbosch, Breda, Steenbergen and Bergen op Zoom. The Carnival in 's-Hertogenbosch (called "Oeteldonk" which means Frog Hill) is known as the oldest in the Netherlands. Several paintings of the world famous Jheronimus Bosch, who lived in the city in the 15th century, are based on the carnival festivities in the city during the Middle Ages. The oldest known Carnival festivities in 's-Hertogenbosch date from 1385. In 1882 De Oeteldonksche Club was founded to secure the future of Carnival in 's-Hertogenbosch. The Carnival of Bergen op Zoom shares most traditions with 's-Hertogenbosch and very few traditions and folklore with the rest of the Netherlands and they have celebrated it in their specific way ever since 1839...

Summer Carnival

Rotterdam (since 1984) and Arnhem (since 2001) celebrate every year Brazilian carnival at the end of July. With 900,000 (2006) and 120,000 (2006) visitors, both events increase in popularity. The Rotterdam carnival includes a yearly Queen and best brass band election in the week before the event. they were also banned from wearing masks for a long time before someone steped out and said that they should regain the right to wear masks

Poland

The Polish Carnival Season includes Fat Thursday (Polish: Tłusty Czwartek), a day for eating pączki (doughnuts); and Śledziówka (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. Increasingly today, especially among the younger generation, Carnival is seen as an excuse for an intensive burst of partying and night-clubbing, and is becoming ever more commercialized with many stores displaying special selections of goods and garish clothing for the Carnival season.

Portugal

Loulé Carnival, Portugal

Carnival in Portugal is celebrated throughout the country, the most famous are the ones of Ovar, Madeira, Loulé, Nazaré, and Torres Vedras. The ones from Podence and Lazarim have pagan traditions, namely the Careto, and Torres Vedras Carnival is seen as the most typical Portuguese carnival.

Paradoxically, Portugal having introduced Christianity and the customs related to Catholic practice to Brazil, has started to adopt some of the aspects of Brazilian-style Carnival celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, Samba and other Brazilian musical elements.

Russia

Carnival in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Maslenitsa (Russian: Масленица, 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 the Great Lent; that is, the seventh week before the Easter. Maslenitsa is a direct analog of the Roman Catholic Carnival. Maslenitsa has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian. The essential element of Maslenitsa celebration are 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 plenty of 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 May 27).

Slovakia

In Slovakia, the Fašiangy (fašiang, fašangy) takes place from Three Kings' Day (Traja králi) until the midnight before the 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.

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 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 "Poganjič" carrying a whip. In the carnival 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. 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 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, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Tarragona, , Cádiz, Badajoz, Bielsa (an ancestral carnival celebration), Plan, San Juan de Plan, Laza, Verín, Viana and Xinzo de Limia.

Andalusia
A choir singing in the Carnival of Cádiz

In Cádiz 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 Cádiz, 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
Carnival Queen of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife is together with the Carnival of Cadiz, the most important festival for Spanish tourism and Spain's largest carnival.[9][10][11][12] 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.[13]

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.[13] 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 de Gran Canaria (Gran Canaria) 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 (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 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 donkey at the tower, while the animal pisses above the excited people. 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: [2]

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: [3]

"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: This carnival is one of the most famous carnivals in Catalonia. Special food includes xatonades (a xató 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 Geltrú 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.

Americas

Argentina

In Argentina, the most representative carnival performed is the so called Murga, although other famous carnival, more Brazilian stylized, are held in the Argentine Mesopotamia and the North-East. Gualeguaychú in the east of Entre Ríos province is the most important carnival city and has one of the largest parades, with a similar afro-American musical background to Brazilian or Uruguayan Carnival. Corrientes is another city with a lively carnival tradition. Chamame, a kind of polka is played during the carnivals. In all major cities and many towns throughout the country, Carnival is also celebrated, but less famous than in the above mentioned places.

As carnival 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 carnival, takes place in the city 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 carnival, with agropuations of people called "Comparsas" dancing traditional songs in matching uniforms.

Brazil

Carnival parade in São Paulo, Gaviões da Fiel Torcida Samba School.
Actress Grazielli Massafera wearing a carnival costume.

An important part of the Brazilian Carnival takes place in the Rio Carnival, with samba schools parading in the Sambadrome ("sambódromo" in Portuguese). It's the largest carnival 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. 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 200 blocos in Rio de Janeiro. Bandas are samba musical bands, usually formed by enthusiasts in the same neighborhood.

An adapted truck from Salvador, with giant speakers and a platform where musicians play songs of local genres such as Axé music, Samba-reggae, Pagode and Arrocha, is driven with the following crowd both dancing and singing. It was originally staged by two Salvador musicians, Dodo & Osmar, in the 1950s.

Pernambuco has large Carnival celebrations, including the Frevo, typical Pernambuco music. Another famous carnival music style from Pernambuco is Maracatu. The cities of Recife and Olinda also host large carnival celebrations in Brazil. The largest carnival parade in all of the world according The Guinness Book of World Records is named Galo da Madrugada, which takes place in downtown Recife on the Saturday of carnival. Another famous event is the Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos.[4]

Peru

Cajamarca

The town of Cajamarca is considered the capital of Peruvian carnival. 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 carnival consists mostly of violent games that last all the month of February, extending to early March if Ash Wednesday falls on March, but rarely ending when it falls on February. [5] Quoting the Lima police chief "The carnival is associated with criminal actions" [6] (2007). It has even gone to major consequences [7].

The Peruvian carnival incorporates elements of violence and reflects the lately trends of urban violence in the Peruvian society after the conflict in Peru. 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 [8], 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 [9]. 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 [10] for violence during the games (the games themselves are not forbidden, but using violence during the games or coercing others to participate is). [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

At the end of the carnival 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.

Caribbean

Most of the islands in the Caribbean celebrate Carnival. The largest and most well-known celebration is held in Trinidad and Tobago. Dominican Republic, Antigua, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Haiti, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Sint Maarten, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas and 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, 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. Carnival on these islands also includes a middle-of-the-night j'ouvert (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.

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.

Aruba

Carnival means weeks of events that bring you colorfully 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.”

Antigua

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 juvé), 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 Festival remain in the modern Carnival celebrations, which are otherwise largely based on the Trinidadian Carnival. The carnival consists of mas playing, steel pan music and various shows such as calypso shows and pageants.

Barbados

Carnival 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 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 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.

Haiti
]Haiti Carnival 2008: Sweet Micky's "char" (float) parades through the crowd playing his latest Kompa Meringue
Haiti Carnival girls aboard the Krezi Mizik char at Kanaval 2009

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 carnival melodies) on the Beton (the street course where the floats pass through). Those with enough money or the right connections enjoy the scene from the comfort of elaborately decorated stands often decorated in resemblance of Haiti’s famous Tap-Tap street cabs. Other stands are designed in accord with the logos of their respective local corporate sponsors.

The many different genres of Haitian Music are fully represented with the different bands that blaze through the beton. Among these the Kompa Meringues are the most popular followed by the Racine (roots) bands that pay homage to the rich African Ancestry of the people. New styles with foreign influence emerge continuously mixing Haitian sounds with techno, hip-hop, reggae, zouk, Fand soukous to name a few.

The floats, on flatbed trucks and nearly two stories high (called “Chars”), look more like ocean liners than anything else, but liners with massed humps of speakers. The 20 bands in the seven-hour parade play as the chars creep through the wild crowds until 4 A.M. 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.

Karnaval royalty4378.JPG

Haiti Carnival Royalty at the height of celebrations at the National Palace

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 Carnival is clearly one of the more important events in the African diaspora in the Americas.

Trinidad and Tobago
Members of a costume band parade on the streets of Port of Spain during Trinidad and Tobago Carnival

In Trinidad & Tobago, Carnival is a holiday season that lasts over a month and culminates in large celebrations in Port of Spain which is the capital of Trinidad, on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with Dimanche Gras, J'ouvert, and Mas (masquerade). Tobago's celebrations also culminates on Monday and Tuesday but on a much smaller scale in its capital Scarborough. Carnival is a festive time of costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying (also referred to as fete-ing). Music styles associated with Carnival include soca, calypso

The annual Carnival steel pan competition known as the National Panorama competition is held in the weeks preceding Carnival 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 Carnival 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.

Floats in Trinidad's Carnival celebration

Carnival 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 Carnival Monday, Monday Night Mas is popular in most towns and especially the capital, where smaller bands participate in competition.

Carnival Tuesday is when the main events of the carnival 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 carnival 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.

Trinidad Carnival has been copied by many of the islands in the West Indies. Most notably Barbados crop over, St. Vincent, and Antigua carnival. Calypso, soca, steelpan, the costumes, the competitions (such as Panorama, Calypso Monarch, King and Queen of the bands, and roadmarch king), were all pioneered by Trinidad and Tobago carnival and copied throughout the caribbean. London's Notting Hill Carnival, Toronto Caribana, and Miami carnival also have their roots in Trinidad carnival.

Colombia

Although Carnival 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 Carnival 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, Bogotá and Popayán.

The Carnival, 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 Carnival festivals in Barranquilla (see Barranquilla Carnival), in other villages along the lower Magdalena River in northern Colombia, and in Pasto, Nariño (see Blacks and Whites Carnival) in the south of the country. In modern times, there have been attempts to introduce Carnival in the capital, Bogotá, in the early 20th century, but it has always failed to gain the approval of authorities. The Bogotá Carnival 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 Carnival 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 Carnival 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 carnival festivities are those in Guaranda (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 carnival traditions with colorful parades, such as in Azogues (Cañar Province). In Azogues and the Southern Andes in general, the Taita Carnaval is always an indigenous Cañari dressed for the celebrations. Recently also a celebration has gained prominence in the northern part of the Sierra in the Chota Valley in Imbabura which is a zone of a strong afro-Ecuadorian population and so the Carnival is celebrated with bomba del chota music.

French Guiana

The Carnival of French Guiana is a major aspect of the culture of that country. Although its roots are in the Creole 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: Carnival begins at Epiphany and ends on Ash Wednesday, 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, or coconut.

On Sunday afternoons major parades are staged in the streets of Cayenne, Kourou, and Saint-Laurent du Maroni. Competing groups prepare for months. Dressed according to the agreed theme of the year, they strut along with carnival 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 carnival context, makoumé is a pejorative term for a homosexual).
  • 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.
Four touloulous

A uniquely Creole tradition of this version of carnival 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 carnival, touloulou balls are held in so-called universities; in reality, large dance halls that only open in carnival 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 carnival 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 Carnival.

This text is based principally on text in The French wikipedia

Guatemala

The largest Carnival celebration in Guatemala is in Mazatenango. During the month of February, Mazatenango is famous for its eight day Carnival 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 carnival 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 in Honduras, Carnival is held on the fourth Saturday of every May to commemorate San Isidro. It is the largest Carnival celebration in Central America.

Nicaragua

In the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, in the city of Bluefields, the carnival, better known as Palo de Mayo (or Mayo Ya!), is celebrated every day of May.

In the Nicaragua's capital city, Managua, it is only celebrated for 2 days. The carnival 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" wich lasts ten days.

Mexico

In Mexico, Carnival is celebrated in many cities and towns, most notably in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mérida, Yucatán, and in the city of Veracruz, where Carnival 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 coasters. Both Mazatlán's and Veracruz's celebrations are often compared to the carnival of Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans. In Copándaro de Galeana, Michoacán carnival is celebrated with lively parades often surrounding bull riding, cockfights and dancing.

In some of the central to northern regions the popular Norteña and Mexican rodeo influences are very present, whereas in the coastal or southern regions, carnivals represent a more indigenous rendition. Each one will include many region-specific food dishes and drinks.

Panama

The Panamanian Carnival is the second biggest festival in the world. Traditionally beginning on Friday and ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, "los carnavales", as Panamanians refer to the days of carnival, are celebrated in almost the whole country. Carnival Week in Panama is specially popular because of the luxury and magnitude of the Las Tablas Carnival as well as the carnival celebrations in Panama City and almost all of the Azuero Peninsula. The Panamanian Carnival 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.

Uruguay

Afro-Uruguayans gathering for a Candombe celebration, ca. 1870

The Carnival in Uruguay is the longest of the world, with more than 80 days of celebration, generally occurring in January through mid March, with celebrations in Montevideo, the capital, being the largest and brightiest. 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 Carnival include two colorful parades called Desfile de Carnaval (Carnival Parade) and Desfile de Llamadas (Calls Parade, a candombe-summoning parade).

During the eighty 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 Carnival groups called mainly Murgas, 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, perform candombe rhythmic figures. Revelers also wear their festival clothing. Each group has its own theme. Women wearing elegant, bright dressed are called vedettes and provide the sensual touch to parades.

European archetypes (Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbina) merge with African ancestral elements (the Old Mother or Mama Vieja, the Medicine Man 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 Carnival is currently receiving important governmental support.

Venezuela

Carnival 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 Carnival is subject to being soaked. Coastal town and provinces celebrate carnival much more fervently these days than any place in the country. Venezuela regard carnival 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.[17].

Canada

Caribana, held in Toronto on the first weekend of August, has its origins in the carnival traditions of the Caribbean, notably Trinidad and Tobago. 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 carnivals in which the festival is strongly rooted. [18] Attendance at the Caribana parade typically exceeds one million people.

The Quebec City Winter Carnival is the biggest winter-themed carnival in the world.[citation needed] It depends on good snowfalls and very cold weather, to keep snowy ski trails in good condition and the many ice sculptures 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 takes place during the first 3 weeks of February.

United States

Carnival celebrations, usually referred to as Mardi Gras, were first celebrated in the Gulf Coast area of the United States, but now occur in many other states. Customs originated in the onetime French colonial capitals of Mobile (now in Alabama), New Orleans (Louisiana) and Biloxi (Mississippi), all of which have celebrated for many years with street parades and masked balls. Other major U.S. cities with celebrations include Tampa, Florida, St. Louis, Missouri, Pensacola, Florida, San Diego, California, Galveston, Texas, Orlando, Florida, etc.

Louisiana

The best-known, most elaborate, and most popular events are in New Orleans, while other South Louisiana cities such as Lafayette, Mamou, and Houma, all of which were under French control at one time or another, are the sites of famous Carnival 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, Orlando, Florida in Universal Studios, and in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, California.

See also

References

  • McGowan, Chris and Pessanha, Ricardo. "The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil." 1998. 2nd edition. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-545-3
  • Catholic Encyclopedia, Shrovetide


in the Rosenmontag parade in Cologne, Germany.]]

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 a festival traditionally held in Roman 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 Carnaval is one of the best-known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events.

Contents

History

The Lenten period of the Church calendar, being the six weeks directly before Easter, was marked by fasting and other pious or penetential 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 biblical account 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 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.

Length and individual holidays

While the starting day of Carnival varies, the festival usually builds up to a crescendo in the week before lent, ending on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In the Ambrosian rite of Milan (Italy), the carnival ends on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday. In areas in which people practice Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Carnival ends on the Sunday seven weeks before Easter, since in Eastern tradition lent begins on Clean Monday.

Most common the season begins on Septuagesima, the first Sunday before Ash Wednesday. In some places it starts as early as Twelfth Night (January 6) or even in November. The most important celebrations are generally concentrated during the last days of the season before Ash Wednesday.

Etymology

The origin of the name "carnival" is disputed. Variants in Italian dialects suggest that the name comes from the Italian carne levare or similar, meaning "to remove meat", since meat is prohibited during Lent.[1]

A different explanation states 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. Yet another translation depicts carne vale as "a farewell to the flesh", a phrase embraced by certain carnival celebrations that 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.[1]

Another possible explanation comes from the term "Carrus Navalis" (ship cart), the name of the roman festival of Isis, where her image was carried to the sea-shore to bless the start of the sailing season.[2] The festival consisted in a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, that would reflect the floats of modern carnivals.[3]

Carnival in specific countries

Asia

India

File:Carnival Goa circa 1980s or
Goan Christians participating at the Goan Carnival, late 20th century

In India, Carnival is celebrated in the states of Goa, Gujarat, Odisha and Kerala. In Goa, Carnival is known as Intruz, and the largest celebration takes place in the city of Loutolim. The three-day-long festival of music and dancing in the streets culminates in a parade on Fat Tuesday. Crowds follow their partying with a buffet dinner of Goan cuisine.

The festival in Kerala is called Raasa ("fun" in Sanskrit) and takes place on Fat Tuesday. Organized by Catholic churches, the Raasa involves a public Mass and a parade of religious artifacts, including large copper vessels, a golden cross and a silver cross, and the Papal and Catholicate flag. For the "Chembeduppu" ceremony, people eat raw or half-boiled rice out of the copper vessels. Although many Christians participate only in the parade, Hindus and Muslims join in the other festivities, which often include fireworks.

In Odisha the carnival is celebrated in Sambalpur, it is famous by the name of Sitalsasthi. It attracts tourists from adjoining states as well as outside India. The marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated as Sitalsasthi for several years from now. No one for sure knows when actually it started. However, from the records it is known that for the last 300 years it is been celebrated. This can be the oldest carnival celebrated in India. The Kutch district in northern Gujarat celebrates the Kutch Carnival, also known as Rann Utshav.

Europe

Belgium

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

The Carnival 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, who go out in traditional costumes on Shrove Tuesday and throw blood oranges to the crowd.[4] In 2003, the Carnival of Binche was recognised as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.[5] The Carnival at Aalst, which is celebrated for the full week preceding Ash Wednesday, is expected to receive the same recognition in 2010.[6]

Some Belgian cities hold carnivals later during Lent. One of the best-known is Stavelot, where the Carnaval 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 Ljubuški holds a traditional carnival (Croatian: Karneval). Ljubuški is a member of the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC).

Croatia

The most famous Croatian carnival (Croatian: "karneval", also called "maškare") is the Rijeka Carnival, during which the mayor of Rijeka hands over the keys to the city to the Carnival master ("meštar 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.)

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 Zvončari, 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.

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.

Cyprus

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 alone 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 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 but does occur in Bohemia as well. While practices vary from region to region, masks and costumes are present everywhere.

Denmark

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 chidren 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.

England

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.

France

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

Although the festival and party season in Germany starts on the 11 November at 11:11 a.m., the actual Carnival week begins on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. German Carnival 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 carnival session begins each year on 11 November at 11:11 a.m. and finishes on Ash Wednesday with the main festivities occurring around Rosenmontag; this time is also called the "Fifth Season."

In German-speaking countries, two distinct varieties of Carnivals are held. The Rhenish Carnival is held in the west of Germany, mainly in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and 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 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.

Greece

the float of King Carnival]]

The carnival season in Greece is also known as the Apokriés (Greek: Αποκριές, "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 Tsiknopémptẽ ("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 Tyrinē (Greek: Τυρινή, "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 maskarádes ("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 masqués, 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[7] in which giant, gaudily painted effigies of phalluses 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 ouzo liquor.

Hungary

in Hungary]]

In Mohács, Hungary, the Busójárás 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.

Italy

The most famous carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Acireale and Ivrea.

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 marks caricaturizing popular figures. In 2001, the town built a new "Carnival citadel" dedicated to carnival preparations and entertainment.

Macedonia

The most popular carnivals in the Republic of Macedonia are held in Vevčani and Strumica.

The Vevčani Carnival (Macedonian: 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 carnival, the village becomes a live theatre where costumed actors improvise on the streets in roles such as the traditional "August the Stupid."[8]

The Strumica Carnival (Macedonian: 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 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.

Malta

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 and more risqué themes including cross-dressing, ghost costumes, political figures and revellers dressed up as scantily clad clergyfolk. 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.

Netherlands

Carnival in the Netherlands is also called "Vastenavond" or "Vastelaovend", and is most celebrated in Catholic regions, mainly the southern provinces Noord Brabant and Limburg. Dutch Carnival is celebrated on the Saturday through Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. Although traditions vary from town to town, some common characteristics of Dutch Carnival include a parade, a fake prince plus cortège ("Council of 11"), the boerenbruiloft (farmer's wedding) and the haring happen (eating herring) 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; in recent years samba bands have become more popular.

The oldest-known carnival festivities in Noord-Brabant's capital city 's-Hertogenbosch date from 1385, and are depicted in several paintings of the 15th-century painter Jheronimus Bosch. For the three days of the carnival, the city changes its name to "Oeteldonk," which means "Frog Hill."

Poland

The Polish Carnival Season includes Fat Thursday (Polish: Tłusty Czwartek), when pączki (doughnuts) are eaten, and Śledziówka (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.

Portugal

]] Carnival in Portugal is celebrated throughout the country, most famously in Ovar, Madeira, Loulé, Nazaré, 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.

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.

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 the island of São Miguel, Carnaval 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 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,” 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.


On the Island of Madeira, Carnaval 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 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

, Russia]] Maslenitsa (Russian: Масленица, 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 May 27).

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.

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 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 "Poganjič" carrying a whip. In the carnival 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. 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 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, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Tarragona, Solsona , Cádiz, Badajoz, Bielsa (an ancestral carnival celebration), Plan, San Juan de Plan, Laza, Verín, Viana and Xinzo de Limia.

Andalusia

]]

In Cádiz 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 Cádiz, 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

]]

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife is together with the Carnival of Cadiz, the most important festival for Spanish tourism and Spain's largest carnival.[9][10][11][12] 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.[13]

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.[13] 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 de Gran Canaria (Gran Canaria) 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 (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 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 donkey at the tower, while the animal pisses above the excited people. 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: [13]

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: [14]

"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: This carnival is one of the most famous carnivals in Catalonia. Special food includes xatonades (a xató 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 Geltrú 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.

Americas

Argentina

In Argentina, the most representative carnival performed is the so called Murga, although other famous carnival, more Brazilian stylized, are held in the Argentine Mesopotamia and the North-East. Gualeguaychú in the east of Entre Ríos province is the most important carnival city and has one of the largest parades, with a similar afro-American musical background to Brazilian or Uruguayan Carnival. Corrientes is another city with a lively carnival tradition. Chamame, a kind of polka is played during the carnivals. In all major cities and many towns throughout the country, Carnival is also celebrated, but less famous than in the above mentioned places.

As carnival 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 carnival, takes place in the city 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 carnival, with agropuations of people called "Comparsas" dancing traditional songs in matching uniforms.

Brazil

, Gaviões da Fiel Torcida Samba School.]]

Pernambuco has large Carnival celebrations, including the Frevo, typical Pernambuco music. Another famous carnival music style from Pernambuco is Maracatu. The cities of Recife and Olinda also host large carnival celebrations in Brazil. The largest carnival parade in all of the world according The Guinness Book of World Records is named Galo da Madrugada, which takes place in downtown Recife on the Saturday of carnival. Another famous event is the Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos.[15]

Another important part of the Brazilian Carnival takes place in the Rio Carnival, with samba schools parading in the Sambadrome ("sambódromo" in Portuguese). It's the largest carnival 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. 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 200 blocos in Rio de Janeiro. Bandas are samba musical bands, usually formed by enthusiasts in the same neighborhood.

An adapted truck from Salvador, with giant speakers and a platform where musicians play songs of local genres such as Axé music, Samba-reggae and Arrocha, 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 carnival of Porto Seguro.

Caribbean

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, Barbados, Haiti, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Sint Maarten, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas and 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, 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. Carnival on these islands also includes a middle-of-the-night j'ouvert (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.

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.

Aruba

Carnival means weeks of events that bring you colorfully 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.”

Antigua

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 juvé), 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 Festival remain in the modern Carnival celebrations, which are otherwise largely based on the Trinidadian Carnival. The carnival consists of mass playing, steel pan music and various shows such as calypso shows and pageants.

Barbados

Carnival 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 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 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.

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 carnival melodies) on the Beton (the street course where the floats pass through). Those with enough money or the right connections enjoy the scene from the comfort of elaborately decorated stands often decorated in resemblance of Haiti’s famous Tap-Tap street cabs. Other stands are designed in accord with the logos of their respective local corporate sponsors.

The many different genres of Haitian Music are fully represented with the different bands that blaze through the beton. Among these the Kompa Meringues are the most popular followed by the Racine (roots) bands that pay homage to the rich African Ancestry of the people. New styles with foreign influence emerge continuously mixing Haitian sounds with techno, hip-hop, reggae, zouk, Fand soukous to name a few.

The floats, on flatbed trucks and nearly two stories high (called “Chars”), look more like ocean liners than anything else, but liners with massed humps of speakers. The 20 bands in the seven-hour parade play as the chars creep through the wild crowds until 4 A.M. 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.

Karnaval


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 Carnival is clearly one of the more important events in the African diaspora in the Americas.

Trinidad and Tobago
during Trinidad and Tobago Carnival]]

In Trinidad & Tobago, Carnival is a holiday season that lasts over a month and culminates in large celebrations in Port of Spain which is the capital of Trinidad, on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with Dimanche Gras, J'ouvert, and Mas (masquerade). Tobago's celebrations also culminates on Monday and Tuesday but on a much smaller scale in its capital Scarborough. Carnival is a festive time of costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying (also referred to as fete-ing). Music styles associated with Carnival include soca, calypso

The annual Carnival steel pan competition known as the National Panorama competition is held in the weeks preceding Carnival 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 Carnival 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.


Carnival 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 Carnival Monday, Monday Night Mas is popular in most towns and especially the capital, where smaller bands participate in competition.

Carnival Tuesday is when the main events of the carnival 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 carnival 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.

Colombia

in the Blacks and Whites Carnival in Pasto, Colombia]]

Although Carnival 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 Carnival 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, Bogotá and Popayán.

The Carnival, 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 Carnival festivals in Barranquilla (see Barranquilla's Carnival), in other villages along the lower Magdalena River in northern Colombia, and in Pasto, Nariño (see Blacks and Whites Carnival) in the south of the country. In modern times, there have been attempts to introduce Carnival in the capital, Bogotá, in the early 20th century, but it has always failed to gain the approval of authorities. The Bogotá Carnival 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 Carnival 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 Carnival 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 carnival festivities are those in Guaranda (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 carnival traditions with colorful parades, such as in Azogues (Cañar Province). In Azogues and the Southern Andes in general, the Taita Carnaval is always an indigenous Cañari dressed for the celebrations. Recently also a celebration has gained prominence in the northern part of the Sierra in the Chota Valley in Imbabura which is a zone of a strong afro-Ecuadorian population and so the Carnival is celebrated with bomba del chota music.

French Guiana

The Carnival of French Guiana is a major aspect of the culture of that country. Although its roots are in the Creole 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: Carnival begins at Epiphany and ends on Ash Wednesday, 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, or coconut.

On Sunday afternoons major parades are staged in the streets of Cayenne, Kourou, and Saint-Laurent du Maroni. Competing groups prepare for months. Dressed according to the agreed theme of the year, they strut along with carnival 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 carnival context, makoumé is a pejorative term for a homosexual).
  • 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 carnival 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 carnival, touloulou balls are held in so-called universities; in reality, large dance halls that only open in carnival 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 carnival 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 Carnival.

This text is based principally on text in The French wikipedia

Guatemala

The largest Carnival celebration in Guatemala is in Mazatenango. During the month of February, Mazatenango is famous for its eight day Carnival 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 carnival 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 in Honduras, Carnival is held on the fourth Saturday of every May to commemorate San Isidro. It is the largest Carnival celebration in Central America.

Nicaragua

In the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, in the city of Bluefields, the carnival, better known as Palo de Mayo (or Mayo Ya!), is celebrated every day of May.

In the Nicaragua's capital city, Managua, it is only celebrated for 2 days. The carnival 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, Carnival is celebrated in many cities and towns, most notably in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mérida, Yucatán, and in the city of Veracruz, where Carnival 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 coasters. Both Mazatlán's and Veracruz's celebrations are often compared to the carnival of Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans. In Copándaro de Galeana, Michoacán carnival is celebrated with lively parades often surrounding bull riding, cockfights and dancing.

In some of the central to northern regions the popular Norteña and Mexican rodeo influences are very present, whereas in the coastal or southern regions, carnivals represent a more indigenous rendition. Each one will include many region-specific food dishes and drinks.

Panama

The Panamanian Carnival is the second biggest festival in the world. Traditionally beginning on Friday and ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, "los carnavales", as Panamanians refer to the days of carnival, are celebrated in almost the whole country. Carnival Week in Panama is specially popular because of the luxury and magnitude of the Las Tablas Carnival as well as the carnival celebrations in Panama City and almost all of the Azuero Peninsula. The Panamanian Carnival 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.

Peru

Cajamarca

The town of Cajamarca is considered the capital of Peruvian carnival. 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 carnival consists mostly of violent games that last all the month of February, extending to early March if Ash Wednesday falls on March, but rarely ending when it falls on February.[14] Quoting the Lima police chief "The carnival is associated with criminal actions" [15] (2007). It has even gone to major consequences [16].

The Peruvian carnival incorporates elements of violence and reflects the lately trends of urban violence in the Peruvian society after the internal conflict in Peru. 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 [17], 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 [14]. 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 [18] for violence during the games (the games themselves are not forbidden, but using violence during the games or coercing others to participate is).[19][20][21][22][23][24]

At the end of the carnival 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

celebration, ca. 1870]]

The Carnival in Uruguay is the longest of the world, with more than 80 days of celebration, generally occurring in January through mid March, with celebrations in Montevideo, the capital, being the largest and brightiest. 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 Carnival include two colorful parades called Desfile de Carnaval (Carnival Parade) and Desfile de Llamadas (Calls Parade, a candombe-summoning parade).

During the eighty 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 Carnival groups called mainly Murgas, 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, perform candombe rhythmic figures. Revelers also wear their festival clothing. Each group has its own theme. Women wearing elegant, bright dressed are called vedettes and provide the sensual touch to parades.

European archetypes (Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbina) merge with African ancestral elements (the Old Mother or Mama Vieja, the Medicine Man 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 Carnival is currently receiving important governmental support.

Venezuela

Carnival 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 Carnival is subject to being soaked. Coastal town and provinces celebrate carnival much more fervently these days than any place in the country. Venezuela regard carnival 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.[16].

Canada

Caribana, held in Toronto on the first weekend of August, has its origins in the carnival traditions of the Caribbean, notably Trinidad and Tobago. 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 carnivals in which the festival is strongly rooted. [17] Attendance at the Caribana parade typically exceeds one million people.

The Quebec City Winter Carnival is the biggest winter-themed carnival in the world.[citation needed] It depends on good snowfalls and very cold weather, to keep snowy ski trails in good condition and the many ice sculptures 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 takes place during the first 4weeks of February.

United States

Carnival celebrations, usually referred to as Mardi Gras, were first celebrated in the Gulf Coast area of the United States, but now occur in many other states. Customs originated in the onetime French colonial capitals of Mobile (now in Alabama), New Orleans (Louisiana) and Biloxi (Mississippi), all of which have been celebrated for many years with street parades and masked balls. Other major U.S. cities with celebrations include Tampa, Florida, St. Louis, Missouri, Pensacola, Florida, San Diego, California, Galveston, Texas, Orlando, Florida, etc.

Carnival is celebrated in New York City in the Borough of Brooklyn. As in the UK, the timing of carnival 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 Carnival, and was founded by immigrants from Trinidad, one of the West Indian islands that has one of the largest Carnivals of the Caribbean region. In the mid twentieth century, West Indians moved the timing of the New York area Carnival from the beginning of Lent to the Labor Day weekend. The West Indian Day Carnival 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 carnival 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, Mamou, and Houma, all of which were under French control at one time or another, are the sites of famous Carnival 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, Orlando, Florida in Universal Studios, and in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, California.

See also

References



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CARNIVAL (Med. Lat. carnelevarium, from caro, carnis, flesh, and levare, to lighten or put aside; the derivation from valere, to say farewell, is unsupported), the last three days preceding Lent, which in Roman Catholic countries are given up to feasting and merry-making. Anciently the carnival was held to begin on twelfth night (6th January) and last till midnight of Shrove Tuesday. There is little doubt that this period of licence represents a compromise which the church always inclined to make with the pagan festivals and that the carnival really represents the Roman Saturnalia. Rome has ever been the headquarters of carnival, and though some popes, notably Clement IX. and XI. and Benedict XIII., made efforts to stem the tide of Bacchanalian revelry, many of the popes were great patrons and promoters of carnival keeping. Paul II. was notable in this respect. In his time the Jews of Rome were compelled to pay yearly a sum of 1130 golden florins (the thirty being added as a special memorial of Judas and the thirty pieces of silver), which was expended on the carnival. A decree of Paul II., minutely providing for the diversions, orders that four rings of silver gilt should be provided, two in the Piazza Navona and two at the Monte Testaccio - one at each place for the burghers and the other for the retainers of the nobles to practise riding at the ring. The pope also orders a great variety of races, the expenses of which are to be paid from the papal exchequer - one to be run by the Jews, another for Christian children, another for Christian young men, another for sexagenarians, a fifth for asses, and a sixth for buffaloes. Under Julius III. we have long accounts of bull-hunts - or rather bull-baits - in the Forum, with gorgeous descriptions of the magnificence of the dresses, and enormous suppers in the palace of the Conservatori in the capitol, where seven cardinals, together with the duke Orazio Farnese, supped at one table, and all the ladies by themselves at another. After the supper the whole party went into the courtyard of the palace, which was turned into the semblance of a theatre, "to see a most charming comedy which was admirably played, and lasted so long that it was not over till ten o'clock!" Even the austere and rigid Paul IV. (ob. 1559) used to keep carnival by inviting all the Sacred College to dine with him. Sixtus V., who was elected in 1585, set himself to the keeping of carnival after a different fashion. Determined to repress the lawlessness and crime incident to the period, he set up gibbets in conspicuous places, as well as whipping-posts, the former as a hint to robbers and cut-throats, the latter in store for minor offenders. We find, further, from the provisions made at the time, that Sixtus reformed the evil custom of throwing dirt and dust and flour at passengers, permitting only flowers or sweetmeats to be thrown.

The later popes for the most part restricted the public festivities of the carnival to the last six or seven days immediately preceding Ash Wednesday. The municipal authorities of the city, on whom the regulation of such matters now depends, allow ten days. The carnival sports at Rome anciently consisted of three divisions: (1) the races in the Corso (formerly called the Via Lata, and taking its present name from them), which appear to have been from time immemorial a part of the festivity; (2) the spectacular pageant of the Agona; (3) that of the Testaccio.

Of other Italian cities, Venice used in old times to be the principal home, after Rome, of carnival. To-day Turin, Milan, Florence, Naples, all put forth competing programmes. In old times Florence was conspicuous for the licentiousness of its carnival; and the Canti Carnascialeschi, or carnival songs, of Lorenzo de' Medici show to what extent the licence was carried. The carnival in Spain lasts four days, including Ash Wednesday. In France the merry-making is restricted almost entirely to Shrove Tuesday, or mardi Bras. In Russia, where no Ash Wednesday is observed, carnival gaieties last a week from Sunday to Sunday.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also carnival

English

Etymology

From carnival

Proper noun

Singular
Carnival

Plural
-

Carnival

  1. The season just before the beginning of the Roman Catholic season of Lent, when New Orleans has its Mardi Gras carnival.

Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Carnival

Developer(s) Sega
Publisher(s) Sega
Arcade
Coleco
Atari 2600
Intellivision
ColecoVision
Release date Arcade:
1982 (NA)
Atari 2600:
1982 (NA)
Intellivision:
1982 (NA)
ColecoVision:
1982 (NA)
Genre Fixed Shooter Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s) N/A
Arcade
Atari 2600
Intellivision
ColecoVision
Platform(s) Arcade
Atari 2600
Intellivision
ColecoVision
Input Atari 2600 Joystick
Intellivision Controller
ColecoVision Controller
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough


Carnival is an arcade game released in 1982. The game was later ported to the Atari 2600, the Intellivision, and the ColecoVision.

Gameplay

The player moves their gun along the bottom of the screen, shooting at three rows of targets and a spinning wheel of flags, trying to knock all of them down before they run out of bullets. Special targets you hit can increase the player's bullet supply. But watch out for the ducks on the bottom row -- they will fly down toward you and chomp down ten of your bullets if you're not careful. In between screens, you get to try your luck at hitting the moving bear as many times as you can.

Notes

The Intellivision version is not usable on the Intellivision II.

Gallery

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This article uses material from the "Carnival" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

File:Pieter Bruegel d. Ä.
Pieter Bruegel, The Battle of Carnival and Lent.

Carnival is a public celebration which takes place in many cities and towns in many countries around the world, in February or March each year. Carnival can sometimes last for several weeks. In some places there is only one day of celebration. There are often street parades, bands, costumes and many people wear masks. Carnival is linked to religious traditions in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and it is also linked to the folk traditions in every different place where it happens.

Contents

Background

File:Carnival 002
Men in the Carnival of the Dominican Republic carry whips as a sign of punishment for sin.

Lent

Many Christian churches have a 40 day "season" of fasting called Lent, in which Christians prepare for Easter which is one of the two most important feasts in the Christian year. Easter is in late March or April. Lent always begins on a Wednesday, which is called Ash Wednesday in February or March. On that day, many people go to church and have some ash smeared on their forehead as a sign of sorrow for their sins. Then for 40 days, they try to work hard on improving themselves and thinking about the teachings of Jesus. It is usual for people to "give up" something for Lent. They might stop smoking or stop watching TV so they can spend more time reading the Bible or talking with the family. Many people give up all their favourite foods and have no cake, wine, beer, chocolate, icecream or other luxury foods.

The name "carnivale" comes from Italian and means "putting aside the flesh". This means that during Lent people were not to think about their "flesh" (their bodies) but do things that were good for their souls. The word "flesh"" also means "meat" so many people would eat no meat during Lent.

Mardi Gras

File:Binche - Les
The Gilles parade through Binche in Belgium.

Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday". This was the day just before Lent. The first day of Lent was called Mecredi Meagre meaning "Mean Wednesday". ("Mean" used to mean "poor" and "thin" rather than "nasty".)

During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was normal for people to have a big feast on the Tuesday before the Lenten fast started. In many towns this developed into a big public party, with entertainment in the town square. There is a famous painting by Pieter Bruegel dating from the 1550s and showing the "Battle of Carnival and Lent". (See top of page)

About Pieter Bruegel's famous painting

In this picture by Pieter Bruegel, a man representing Carnival is pushed on a barrel by people in costumes and masks. He is about to do battle with Lent. His weapon is a skewer covered with pieces of roast meat. He balances a blackbird pie on his head. Lent, who is very skinny, fights him with two little fish on a bread-board. The person at the front wears a mask and plays a very noisy instrument called a rummelpott.

Modern celebrations of Carnival

File:Venezia carnevale
Two elegantly dressed figures at the Carnival of Venice

Nowadays many cities and towns around the world celebrate Carnival for a week or more. The final day of the celebration is Mardi Gras, when there is often a parade. In some cities the Mardi Gras parade is held on the weekend before Lent begins, rather than on the Tuesday, so as not to disturb the business and traffic of the town.

In some towns such as the Belgian town of Binche the preparations for the Carnival are complex and start many weeks before Carnival takes place, with most of the town's people taking part in some way. The Carnaval de Binche is listed with UNESCO as an event of great historic importance because it has been held there in almost the same way for more than 500 years.

Carnival is celebrated differently around the world, but there are some things that are similar:

  • There is often dressing-up in fancy costumes, which often include masks.
  • There is usually a street parade of people and musicians. There may also be floats which are decorated vehicles.
  • There is often loud noises, bright colours and scary faces. These are to frighten evil spirits away while people are fasting. A traditional reason that the performers wear masks is so that the evil spirits do not know who they are.

In the Carneval of Rio de Janeiro, which is one of the biggest and most famous in the world, a major feature is the glamorous costumes as both men and women wear bright colours and wonderful headdresses to dance down the street to the sound of many bands. In Rio there are many very large and expensive decorated floats. [[File:|thumbnail|left|250px|A high school band in the Carnival parade in New Orleans]] In New Orleans the bands are one of the most important parts of the Carnival celebrations. In Dusseldorf in Germany, one of the features of the Carnival parades are the enormous models of politicians and other well-known people. In Sydney, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras which started out as a parade for Sydney's homosexual community, now includes exhibitions, live theatre and competitions, and stretches over two weeks.

In Venice the Carnival was celebrated from December 26 until Lent began. During that time, people were allowed to disguise themselves by wearing masks in the street. In the 1930s this was forbidden by the Italian Government, but in 1980 a mask-makers shop was set up in Venice again. Soon the old tradition was brought back, and now many people dress in costume and wear masks for two weeks before Lent begins.

In Brussels in Belgium, the main Carnival procession is held in the Grande Place, the town square in front of the Gothic Town Hall with its huge tower. Every part of the procession is ruled by a tradition, but some of the traditions are so old that no-one remembers what they mean anymore. At the beginning of the procession is a large group of people dressed in beautiful costumes of silk and velvet, who act out an historic scene of the coming of the King of Spain and his royal court to Brussels 500 years ago. When they have taken their seats, there comes an amazing procession which includes stilt walkers, fire eaters, Goldilocks with a dancing bear, a mad camel, a wizard, lots of men in huge feathery headdresses, and the Archangel Michael whose job is to frighten the Devil. These characters are traditional to Brussels. In every city, the characters that take part are different.

Different uses of the word "carnival"

[[File:|thumbnail|250px|A carnival float from the Netherlands]] Although the word "carnival" still has its old meaning, it is often used to mean public entertainments of different kinds. Some towns have carnivals that have nothing to do with Lent and are at different times of year. Nowadays there are all sorts of different carnivals. Some of these carnivals, like the Notting Hill Carnival in London and the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival in Australia are very famous.

The word "carnival" is now used for festivals, parades and competitions of all sorts. There are school sports carnivals, folk carnivals, multi-cultural carnivals, horse-racing carnivals, wine and food carnivals and boating carnivals.

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