It’s that time of the year again! Flamboyant costumes, larger-than-life parades and colorful street parties: Carnival is an annual festive season celebrated in various corners of the world. What started out as a Roman Catholic festival is now a massive party.
One of my favorite events of the year (next to Christmas), the Carnival stretches over a whole week or more, as revelers take to the streets and party till dawn. Some refer to it as the 5th season of the year and it’s easy to see why. Today’s guest post by Miss Moci from Only-Apartments brings us to the best places in the world to celebrate the festivities.
The Carnevale di Venezia is the oldest Carnival celebration recorded in history with a long tradition. Each March, the streets and canals of Venice are flooded with people dressed in exquisite velvet robes and elaborated masks. Traditionally, the masks gave people of all social statuses the opportunity to celebrate together. Today, the mask has become Venice’s trademark – a symbol of mystery and sensuality. If you’re planning a trip to Venice for the Carnival be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Samba dancers, street parades, and raucous percussions: The Brazilian Carnival is without a doubt the world’s most famous Carnival celebration and has taken on incredible proportions. During this time of the year, Brazil sees the greatest influx of tourists and they account for over 80% of the year’s beer consumption. Although the Carnival originated from Europe, celebrations in Brazil have since taken on many characteristics of the African and South American culture.
The Carnival in Cologne is by far the most famous one in Germany. The season officially starts on November 11th, but the most important festivities are at the end of February and the beginning of March with everything ending on Ash Wednesday. In the elaborated street parades, Carnival participants throw out candies to the crowd, while screaming, “Kölle Alaaf!”, some form of battle call. Another highlight of these street parades are the Roten Funken, acrobatic dancers similar to cheerleaders.
As a popular European destination for gays throughout the whole year, Sitges (near Barcelona) is best known for having the most spectacular Carnival celebrations in Spain. Every year, up to 250,000 people visit Sitges to join in the Carnival. The celebrations start on a Thursday with a parade that welcomes King Carnestoltes (the king of Carnival). The two biggest events are Rua de la Disbauxa (Parade of Debauchery) and Rua de l’Extermini, which is the closing parade.
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