Religiously speaking, Carnival is the festive season before the period of Lent and it is typically celebrated in the streets, merging elements of masks, costumes, music and cheerfulness.
In some parts of Spain, for example, during Carnavales it is tradition to have contests in the streets of choral folk songs. In Cádiz, there is even a big event that lasts over two weeks in which different groups sing their folk songs dressed up as one topic they have decided in advance. The contestants prepare for it for months in advance and all the songs and costumes are new each year.
In Brazil, Carnival is held the week before Ash Wednesday and there are huge parades where people wear colourful outfits and dance samba. During Carnaval do Brazil, people follow the parades in the streets singing and dancing. Carnaval has become the most popular celebration in Brazil and it has become an immense celebration all around the country attracting people from all around the world.
A little bit North from Brazil, in the United States, Carnival – or Mardi Gras – is not celebrated religiously; however, it does have historical meaning, particularly for the Louisiana area. During Carnival celebrations, in New Orleans there are parades until Mardi Gras day (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) and there are parades in the streets. It is tradition for the floats to throw colourful beads and the crowds collect them during the day.
Another country to add to the list of places where Carnival is celebrated with parades is Italy. The most well known celebration of Carnival in Italy is certainly the Carnevale di Venezia, where people dress up in very elegant costumes with detailed masks – often decorated in gold. It is tradition in Italy to dress up as the traditional Carnival figures of different parts of the country as for example Pulcinella for Naples, Pantalone for Venice or – the most famous – Arlecchino for Milan. However, another very famous Carnival in Italy is the Carnevale di Viareggio, where a big parade is organised with paper-pulp floats that represent contemporary caricatures.
During the Carnival season it is also tradition to eat sweet treats. Luckily, next Tuesday is Pancake Day and as at GoLocalise we never miss the chance of eating, we’ll most certainly have our little sweet treat so come pay us a visit if you want a pancake (or two)! ;]