The second month of this year brings us so much joy and it’s not just because of the reason that Valentine’s Day is coming, or because it is a leap year where we have one additional day before the beginning of March and not even because it is a month closer to summer. All these reasons may be taken for granted, but for the world, February means a lot because it is the opening season of the greatest street festivals – the Carnivals.
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The Carnivals that are usually organized in February throughout the world represent an interesting traditional event where people take over the streets, dressed up as something (or someone) or just hiding beneath masks and enjoying the loud music, the crowd and the positive energy. It usually involves a public ceremony and a parade through the main streets of the city and it is thought to be a manifestation that can sometimes include elements of a circus and public street parties.
Although the Carnival as a manifestation is considered to be organized on a religious basis, many countries with different cultures and religions have adopted this street ceremony and are already organizing their own authentic Carnival for decades. In the following part you can check out the most interesting Carnivals in the world, organized during this month and who knows – maybe you will grab your suitcase and your mask and leave immediately to a country where you can get the ultimate Carnival experience. Check out these joyful destinations:
Cape Verde Islands, Africa
The Carnival that is taking place on the Cape Verde Islands each February is a celebration spread throughout all of the nine inhabited islands. However, the main one is held each year on the island of Sao Vicente. This event usually includes elements of a religious celebration and a musical event, whereas the Carnival itself has its influences from the Brazilian festive events and some Portuguese flavor. The Sao Vicente Festival hosts two events, one in February and one in August, but the one we’re interested here is obviously the Sao Vicente Carnival which this year starts on the 9th of February. Nevertheless, the date is not randomly picked but announces the 40 days before Easter on the Catholic Calendar.
The Goa Carnival is eventually based on the Christian tradition that was brought to Goa long time ago by the Portuguese. The name of the Carnival is actually “Intruz”, which comes from the Portuguese name for Carnival, which is Entrudo. The Carnival is celebrated for three days and nights, starting this year from 14th of February, up until the 17th of February. The Goa Carnival is a lovely celebration where cultures, languages, and traditions mix together to create the perfect atmosphere for the people attending the Carnival. Every year, the Goa Carnival is visited by thousands and thousands of visitors, so if you’re interested in attending the event, then start booking your flights and organizing your trip. And remember, the Carnival is celebrated throughout the whole country, even though the main events are a spotter in Margao, Panjim, Mapusa, and Vasco da Gama.
The Carnival that is translated into 4 days of public joy in Malmedy is called Cwarmê. The celebration lasts for 4 days, starting from this 6th of February, even though the most important and the most interesting to see is the Cwarmê Sunday. Cwarmê is a street Carnival where people that are disguised walk along the crowd and present their masks in front of the audience. The Cwarmê Sunday is significant because of its large parade and the special dance of the so-called “Haguètes”, the main characters of the Carnival. The end of this Carnival is marked with the burning of the “Haguètes”, with which is also marked the end of winter.
Prague, Czech Republic
Now here’s a Carnival that has already started and will continue to make people happy until the 9th of February. The Prague Carnevale 2016 is all about bringing more colors, joy, and dynamics to the wonderful city of Prague. There are already millions of tourists “attacking” the city every day and you can even imagine how great it would be to also catch a bit of that Carnival atmosphere while you’re visiting the fascinating capital of Czech Republic. This Carnival has actually been inspired by the baroque era festivals organized in Bohemia and it promises a lot of fun by hosting performances of many kinds, workshops, concerts, crazy masks and happy audience.
The main Carnival of the Riviera is offering you some unforgettable entertainment, starting from the 13th and lasting until the 28th of February this year in Nice. For about 15 days Nice will be the most colorful and joyful city in the region, with musical and theatrical performances for every taste. The Carnival is usually organized in a different theme each year, so this year’s theme is called the “King of Media”. In the past, visitors of the Carnival used to throw eggs and flour at each other, but nowadays this is not the exact case. However, the people of Nice still kept the tradition of throwing confetti in the air, so who wouldn’t want to be covered in all those glittery and colorful pieces of paper?
Tourists from all over Europe are already traveling to Venice, the beautiful northern city of Italy, to see and feel the wonder of the Venice Carnival. Such a prestigious event that already started on the 23rd of January and will last until the 9th of February. The streets of Venice praise the Carnival as the people passing by are all dressed up as if they come from another time. The architecture of the city and the people with masks can easily make you feel like you’ve gone back in time with a time machine. Every day of the Carnival there are special activities that simply don’t leave the guests of the Carnival to become bored at any time. Also, there are plenty of performances that tourists can enjoy on a daily basis, but most of all – the announcement of the best masks of the Carnival.
As from the 3rd and up to the 14th of February, this Spanish island will light up into the colors of the Tenerife Carnival. If you’re trying to decide which day to visit the Carnival and you’re limited with the number of days, they have in mind that the Carnival lasts for more than 10 days, but there are three main days with special celebrations. On the 9th of February the Parade of Santa Cruz will be held, where the next day will be the Funeral of the Sardine. On 13th of February, before the Carnival ends, a Parade of Porto de la Cruz will be held at the island of Tenerife.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We decided to save the mother of all Carnivals for last or as you probably know it – the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro! This Carnival is a complete madness, from music and theatre performances to colorful and sparkly costumes, the people of Rio seem like they live for this Carnival. This year’s Rio Carnival starts from the 5th and lasts until the 9th of February. Last year nearly one million tourists visited the Rio Carnival and they all had a blast! This great attraction is bringing more and more people together every year and the Carnival never seems to disappoint its visitors. Get on your dancing shoes because you won’t stop shaking once you go to Rio.
The Carnival season is starting, so hurry up – check out your dream Carnival destination and book your traveling tickets right away. The Carnival ceremonies can be crowded, but one shouldn’t be afraid to attend such an event since the Carnivals are a great way to celebrate life. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and start planning the trip to your favorite Carnival of 2016.
“La Vida es un Carnaval”