Carnival Celebrations Around The World
Wherever you happen to be celebrating them, carnivals are a time to let your inhibitions go and enjoy the music, dancing, costumes, parades and festive atmosphere. In many countries, carnivals take place just before a period of privation, such as Lent (derived from the Latin words carne vale – goodbye to meat). They give people to chance to feast before a time of austerity. In others, it’s about celebrating the advent of good weather in the spring. Here are some of the famous carnivals around the world, plus one you might be less familiar with.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Held for four days before Ash Wednesday, this is the most famous carnival in the world. Revelers say goodbye to the pleasures of the flesh in an orgy of music and dancing. If you get the chance to visit, don’t miss the Samba Parade.
Trinidad and Tobago
This is the best carnival in the Caribbean. The build up to it starts just after Christmas (and sometimes before), with celebrations reaching a head on the Monday (J’ouvert ) and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Calypso music and the steel drums invented in that country are everywhere, and it’s a great place for a celebration.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Originally a French import, Mardi Gras celebrates the day before Ash Wednesday, known as ‘Fat Tuesday’. As well as costumes, dancing and music, you will hear the brass bands that make this carnival unique.
Carnival of Nice, France
Drinks, dancing, parades and general feasting mark the two weeks prior to Mardi Gras in Nice. Look out for huge masks and ticker tape, as well as the burning of the winter king on the beach.
Kadooment Day, Barbados
Certainly not the most famous, the carnival in Barbados takes place on the first Monday in August, known as Kadooment Day. It’s the culmination of a month of celebrations of the traditional end of the sugar harvest, known as Crop Over. Here’s a photo from the 2009 celebrations.