Carnival is one of the most popular festivals, these are days in which costumes fill the streets with color and joy, being one of the funniest parties of the year; Do you know where this holiday comes from? It is older than you think, as there are sources that claim it was created more than five thousand years ago in the Roman Empire, others cite it in Greece because similar festivities were also held where Dionysus was venerated.
All these festivals have one thing in common: the dates, they are celebrated in January-February, a time of transition from winter to spring and in which purification rites took place. With banquets, dances, dresses, masks, and rites, the abundance of the land is celebrated, leaving obligations aside for a moment.
(February 17 to March 10)
One of the oldest traditions in the country is the processions and theater performances that bring together the entire population, venerating “Momo”, the god of mockery and sarcasm.
The three weeks leading up to Lent is the carnival season, also known as “Apokries”, the perfect time to get away and visit Athens for its nightlife. Local bars and nightclubs organize theme parties for people of all ages, who dress up to walk the streets.
The festivities end with numerous outdoor celebrations, masked balls, and large parades. The most outstanding activities are the Moschato parade and the walk in the streets of Plaka.
As for the gastronomy of those days, on the second Thursday of the Apokries everyone eats meat, and it is common for people to set up their stalls on the street where they offer barbecue to all who pass by. The last day of the carnival is a day before “Clean Monday” where the Greeks usually go for a picnic on the coast and fly kites.
(February 16 to February 21)
In the country, allegorical floats, flower fights, the election of the king and queen of the carnival, the election of the ugly king, among other customs, are common. The most famous in the Mexican Republic are:
- Veracruz: In Puerto Jarocho joy and partying make this carnival the most colorful in the country.
- Mazatlán: It stands out for being one of the oldest in the country, in the festival you can find the coronation of kings and the burning of bad humor, a ritual to get the bad energy out of the town.
- Tlaxcala: The groups of charros, catrines, umbrella dancers, and other colorful characters parade through the streets of the towns of Tlaxcala such as Yauhquemecan.
- Merida: Its characteristic is that children’s parades are also held so that everyone can enjoy this event.
- Campeche: It stands out for the “burning of bad humor”, which is represented by a rag doll dressed as a pirate. Once it has been set on fire, he initiates the festival of flowers, popular dances, and allegorical floats.
It should be noted that, in most of them, there are records that possibly the oldest is the one held in Campeche, since it is estimated that it is more than 428 years old, while the second is the one that is carried out in Ciudad del Carmen, since it has 216 years of existence.
(February 17 to February 25)
It highlights the color and the merriment that lives in its streets, achieving great popularity throughout the world. It is not only celebrated in the capital, or in Rio de Janeiro, but also in various cities, which makes the date one of the main tourist attractions in Brazil.
At the end of the 19th century, in Rio de Janeiro they included the “cordões”, which are the people who paraded through the streets dancing and playing music, giving rise to what is now known as the modern “Escolas do Samba”.
There are also the blocks, which are the group of people who parade dressed up during the carnival, celebrating a particular theme. The most important in the country are:
- Rio de Janeiro: It is one of the cities that stand out for the color and strength of each one of the samba schools to enjoy the carnival; It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the country, having a mixture of light, color, beauty, music, and debauchery.
- Salvador da Bahía: The celebration of the carnival becomes somewhat different, there is a display of the so-called electric trios, which are trucks properly equipped with powerful speakers and wide platforms where the main regional music groups play.
- São Paulo: A tribute is paid to Afro-Brazilian roots; Likewise, the competition for the first place of the Anhembi Sambadrome stands out, with the independent league of the São Paulo Samba schools. The parades and allegorical floats that travel the streets where tourists observe and celebrate the colorful and joyful Brazilian culture stand out.
- Recife: It celebrates its carnival twice a year, the first is in February, together with the whole country that is celebrating, and the next is in October, which is the city’s own traditional celebration. This celebration, which is one of the most important in Brazil, lasts three days.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival has been considered the largest carnival celebration in the world, receiving more than 500,000 tourists annually. It is a worldwide celebration where parties and good humor are present, where all the bad things of the year are left behind and only dedicated to dancing and enjoying. What a good life!