Written by Maxine Smeets
Carnival, a festival in February that they know all around the world, but how does everyone celebrate it?
For the ones that don’t know what Carnival is, it’s a big festive event with its origin in the Roman-catholic church. A couple of days, according to tradition three days, before Ash-Wednesday people let go of their everyday morals and party as much as they can. It’s combined with the weirdest costumes and biggest parades through town. All this right before the 40 days of Lent. The days of Carnival are also called Shrovetide.
With around 2 million people on the streets per day, the carnival in Rio de Janeiro is seen as one of the most popular and biggest Carnivals in the world. People from all over go to Brazil in February just for the festival. But what you might not know is that the parade in Rio is not the biggest one, it’s actually another town in Brazil that wins this price: Salvador Da Bahia. It doesn’t run far ahead of Rio de Janeiro with also around 2 million people, but it has 6 consecutive days where every day from 5 pm to 5am the streets are filled with parades.
How do we at NewsforYOUth celebrate it?
In Belgium we have parades in almost all towns, but some are bigger than others, of course. It starts on Sunday and, like all other country, ends on Ash Wednesday – in some towns with a burning of parade puppets. You can find the most famous and biggest parade of Belgium in Aalst. The Carnival started to be celebrated in the middle-ages (1851) but because these weren’t organized by the city-counsel they have officially started counting them since 1923. In 2008 it was recognized as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO.
Wagon in the parade of Roermond (The Netherlands) 2017
In Croatia you can also find several events to celebrate Carnival and local traditions. The most famous one is the Rijeka Carnival, where the keys to the city are handed to the Carnival master by the mayor. At the end of the Carnival, some towns burn a man-like doll called ‘Pust’, which they blame for all the strife of the previous year. Masks are worn everywhere during Carnival to the many festivities, but also in school where children and teachers are allowed to wear masks.
In Turkey you have people from the local Greek-Orthodox community celebrating their carnival on Shrove Monday in Istanbul. Here they call it Baklahorani. The tradition started in the 19th century but was banned in 1943 by the Turkish authorities. Since 2010 it has started again.
In Trinidad and Tobago you can find people that celebrate Carnival, only there it lasts several months, but the highlight of the festival is found in Port of Pain on the three days before Ash Wednesday. It is celebrated with costumes, dancing, music, competitions, drinking and partying.
To show you that Carnival is really a worldly celebration, here’s a part of the list:
-Cape Verde Islands
– Bosnia and Herzegovina
This is only a small part of all the countries that have some kind of celebration for Carnival, but it gives you an idea of how worldly it really is!