Christian Culture says that the fourty days before Easter were meant to be a time for repentance of sins and making sacrifices. So it came as a natural thing the idea of having a massive party before Lent. If your sins would be washed away soon so this would be the time to commit them.
That seems to be the origin of the Carnival celebrations. Dancing, eating, drinking and partying one last time before six weeks of quietness.
As centuries passed by, the religious ideals behind it started to blur and nowadays people from different backgrounds attend one of these parties.
All around the world, the way the celebrations have different traditions, different outfits and many curious tourists in a quest for a new experience.
Smart Insiders gives you seven different options.
1. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The Guinness Book of Records points Rio de Janeiro’s as the biggest one in the world. Unlike most other carnivals who have official events a few weeks before, in Rio they last just for five days, even though some carnival groups start celebrating a week before and a few days after. This post-party is often called “The Carnival Hangover”.
Colourful, filled with samba and sprinkled with all the fun you can have, Rio’s Carnival is the destination for 2 million people every year.
Being the most important days from Sunday to Tuesday Brazilians have a saying: “Life is not more than two days but carnival are three!!”
Source: “the backpacker’s chronicles”
2. Venice, Italy
Did you ever imagine yourself in the middle of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut? If you want to give it a try, Venice Carnival is probably the best place to be. The elaborate masks are the most famous item of this celebration and some of them can cost a small fortune.
Several Balls and fireworks festivals are also an important part of Venice’s carnival.
1. New Orleans, USA
Started on the 18th Century, this carnival celebration known as Mardi Gras. Internet made viral the videos of people flashing for beads but Mardi Gras in New Orleans is way more than that.
The celebration goes from eating cakes – King Cakes – to people throwing things to a crowd that will do anything to get those awards. Of course the main events are the many parades that fill the program..
If you are planning a visit, get yourself in Green, Gold and Purple, the chosen colours to honor the visit of Russian Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff in 1872.
4. Cologne, Germany
Probably the longest of all carnivals as it oficially starts on the 11th of November at 11:11. It is temporarily suspended in December and restarts in January.
If you find the tickets for the oficial events expensive, do not worry, the bars have no closing time and there are a lot of alternative events for free.
If Cologne is your choice for Carnival we give you two advices: prepare yourself to be kissed and learn how to say Kölle Alaaf,(Cologne above all), the traditional greeting!
5. Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Sometimes called as the second biggest carnival in the world as it is twinned with the one in Rio de Janeiro.
Tenerife is the biggest of the canary islands bringing to its carnival an advantage when compared with most that are held in Europe: the average low temperature in February is set on 15 degrees.
Every year as its own theme.
6. Ovar, Portugal
In Portugal, Carnival spreads into a lot of different towns. Ovar is probably the biggest one. It combines the old portuguese tradition of wearing masks and costumes with a little bit of brazilian influence. If you want to see Samba and you do not have time to cross the Atlantic you can head to Ovar.
The main events happen on Sunday and Tuesday with the different parades but on Monday night there is a street party that usually lasts until the next morning.
As the one in tenerife, Cadiz carnival is also considered of international touristic interest and it is the biggest one in Peninsular Spain.
In Cadiz is quite common to get the face painted instead of masks. Streets are packed with groups of music singing about all different kind of topics. Usually sarcasm is the weapon.
There is a big competition between all of these groups in a local theatre.