Carnival is celebrated around the whole world. In some countries it is colorful and wild, in others more traditional and sometimes even bizarre. They all have one thing in common: Music and fun!
The celebrations are absolutely epic events that involve extraordinary parades, raging street parties and elaborate costumes and masks. Those who participate shed their everyday individuality and promote their sense of social unity during a party that can last days at a time. Food and drinks are of no shortage no matter what part of the world Carnival takes place.
The festivals have a variety of histories and backgrounds but are generally held to express a reversal of everyday rules and norms. From food fights to political mockery, Carnival is not your typical street party.
Experience an explosion of colour that attacks the senses at Nice Carnival, one of the oldest in the world. The celebration lasts more than 2 weeks with parades and flower fights during the day and at night. Watch the burlesque floats go by accompanied by international street artists and musicians.
Leap into a bygone era of late night balls, galas, masquerade and mystery at the historic Venice Carnival. It is not just one of the most famous but also has a long lasting tradition dating back to the 13th century. Enjoy the hustle and bustle, indulge and go unrecognized hiding behind the mask. Differently to some of the south and central american celebrations it is not about the shortest costume but the most extravagant at this event.
Whatever your choice, make sure to leave with an empty stomach and your finest dancing shoes. These events around the world are sure to amaze attendees of all ages. Ready for the best street party of your life? Read on..
The original Carnival celebrations took place in many Roman Catholic countries during the final hours before the Lenten season. This season meant that Roman Catholics fasted by abstaining from eating meat along with other religious practices. As time has passed, Carnival Festivals around the world have adopted their own style and guidelines. The Bavaria season begins January 6, while in France and Spain, Carnival celebrations begin the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Although the parties vary depending on the culture, common themes of dancing, eating and wearing masks all play a role in the long history of Carnival. In fact, the costumes donned on this day have significant influences on the transformation of popular song, theatre and folk dances.
Globally, the events have gained much attraction in Carribean countries and its birthright is a bit complicated. With ties to colonialism, religious backgrounds and celebration the festivals we know today have come a long way. French and Spanish colonists brought the tradition with them when they eventually settled in countries like Haiti, Trinidad, Dominica and other islands. Historically, the first modern Carnival took place in Trinidad and Tobago in the 18th century by French settlers. Not too long after, a growing number of free blacks in Trinidad had started to transform the celebration. Carnival had slowly shied away from its European tradition and morphed into a heterogeneous cultural celebration from all ethnic groups. By 1834, slavery had ended which spawned a completely free population that could openly celebrate their native culture through music, dress and dance. Island hopping takes new meaning as celebrations can be found throughout the spring season in the Cayman Islands, Martinique and Vincy Mas.
The people in Trinidad and Tobago call their carnival "the biggest show in the world". The celebrations last for 5 weeks with seven days celebrations around the clock. One of the main differences to Rio for example is that you can take part in the parade. Join one of the Carnival bands and get your costume ready for an experience of a lifetime.
To date, the world’s largest Carnival is held in the streets of Brazil during Rio de Janeiro where over two million people come to party each day. Talk about an epic street rager! Samba schools send thousands of members to the parade to show off their elegant costumes and killer dance moves. Additionally, the party will feature street carnival bands formed from certain neighborhoods or musical backgrounds that truly bring the Carnival to life. It’s no surprise that the entire Carnival industry chain has surpassed over US$1 billion in revenue.
The earliest recorded Carnival took place in Germany in 1296 in Speyer. Fast forward a few centuries and Germany also became home to the first worldwide Carnival known as Cologne in 1823. The parties feature intricate costumes and occasional masks and tend to build with excitement as dancing, hugging and kissing become more frequent. The Fasnacht Kuechle (or donut) is the traditional food of the celebration and are baked or fried.
France is another big player in the long list of the world’s Carnival traditions. The Nice, Dunkirk and Limoux Carnivals are some of the largest and attract over one million visitors in the weeks leading up to Lent. Dunkirk is regarded as one of the most exuberant carnivals in Europe with traditions of fishermen visiting one cafe after another before departing on their biggest fishing trip of the year to Iceland. As time has passed, some traditions have changed yet the center of Carnival celebrations represents a cleansing for the new year and gratitude for life.