Of unknown origin between Sumer and Egypt of the pharaohs, the carnival is a festival of “pagan” origin that has evolved over the centuries to become a western tradition that unites cultures, religions and nations.
Of unknown origin between Sumer and Egypt of the pharaohs, the carnival is a festival of “pagan” origin that has evolved over the centuries to become a western tradition that unites cultures, religions and nations. That’s why in today’s article, we present our top best carnivals in the world, those places where the magic of carnival is present for days, attracting people from all over the planet to share their traditions and specialties. Let’s get started!
Rio de Janeiro Carnival – Brazil
Perhaps the best known and most popular in the world, despite its short existence compared to European carnivals, the Latin American carnival is special because it offers something that carnivals in the rest of the world do not: drums and samba. Carnival arrived in Brazil as a legacy of Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch cultures, mixed with traditions of African cultures brought by human trafficking for slavery purposes.
The adaptation of traditions to each other, such as the celebration of the European Christian carnival with the African pagan festivals, gave birth to the Brazilian carnival, and in particular to the Rio de Janeiro carnival as we know it today, with parades of costumes, floats, drums and lots of samba.
Here, the festivities begin 47 days before Easter, on Friday, and end on Ash Wednesday. Rio’s carnival is so important that there are samba schools that prepare all year long for these parades. Do you want to celebrate Carnival here next year?
Date of the celebration: end of February or beginning of March
Carnival of Venice – Italy
It seems that it began to be celebrated as a festival of the Italian nobility in 1296, where its members dressed up to go out in the city and meet the rest of the inhabitants of the city, masks being the main accessory to avoid being recognized and becoming the distinctive element of the Venetian carnival and giving it a place of choice among the carnivals of the world.
Although the origin of carnival goes back thousands of years, the carnivals of Venice are the starting point of the carnivals of the world as we know them today: with their masks, their dances, their parades and the “mixing of social classes” characteristic of this festival, where it does not matter who is who, but to have fun.
Another characteristic of the carnivals of Venice is that many people dress up specifically using a white mask in contrast with dark silk clothes, very close to the style of the Middle Ages.
Date of the festival: end of February or beginning of March
Carnival of Tenerife – Spain
Another of the world’s carnivals that we couldn’t miss is that of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, considered the most important tourist festival in Spain. The celebrations here begin on the Wednesday before the carnival with the election of the carnival queen, followed by the “announcement parade” on Friday, in which groups of carnival-goers go around the city to announce the arrival of the carnival.
Saturday and Sunday are entirely devoted to the presentation of dances, troupes and the execution of singing and costume competitions, while stellar shows take place on Monday and Tuesday. Tenerife’s carnival ends on Tuesday with the climax of the Gran Coso, a parade that announces the end of the festivities, and with the burial of the sardine on Ash Wednesday.
At this last moment, the streets of Tenerife and its inhabitants dress in mourning to say goodbye to a cardboard sardine, with their widows mourning the loss with heartbreaking cries and people dressed as religious figures, as a mockery of the Catholic Church, such as nuns. Popes and bishops throw blessings.
Date of the celebration: end of February or beginning of March.
Do you want to learn more about other the best carnivals around the world? Come back to check out the second part of our article.