La Vanguardia, Spain
The originality, the music, the richness of colors and, of course, fun – these are the characteristics of the most widespread and daring of the holiday.
And although the origin of the carnival is not fully understood – someone thinks that it originated in Ancient Egypt, others refer it to the era of the heyday of the Roman Empire, though there is no doubt that the carnival has become one of the brightest and most popular holidays on Earth. From South to North and from West to East, it goes through countries and continents, year after year and century after century, each time getting more and more flavor and originality.
Not always easy to come to a consensus, making the rating of the top ten carnivals in the world. However, we offer readers ten festivals, which, we believe, for various reasons. So:
Rio de Janeiro
Chariots, masks, riot of colour, music and, especially, Samba are the main components of the famous Brazilian carnival. Thousands of people go through the sambadrome surrounded by a huge number of people that come from different ends of the planet. Annually participate in the celebration of 5 million people, of whom about one million tourists.
Within months, the Samba schools, which is the soul of Brazilian carnival, preparing participants, which may gain up to five thousand people, and rehearse their performances to surprise the audience and leave them with unforgettable impressions of the carnival.
The carnival of Venice is, first and foremost, masks, period costumes and stunning scenery on the background channel. It seems that time itself stopped its progress. Unlike Rio de Janeiro, the carnival of Venice annually repeated rituals that emerged in the Middle ages and reached its heyday in the XVII – XVIII centuries.
Within ten days, all exudes glamour and sophistication: masquerade parades in St. Mark’s square, the magnificent balls in public and private houses, riding on a gondola on the main channels of the city. For masks, guests are discovering Venice as a beautiful city.
Although Europeans are not very well acquainted with it, carnival in the Bolivian city of Oruro is one of the most spectacular and original not only in Latin America but worldwide. In 2001 UNESCO declared it a inviolable heritage of mankind. Festival in the Bolivian city is half-religious, half-pagan in nature, combining indigenous and Spanish traditions.
During the festival, receiving the praise of Pachamama (Pachamama) and the virgin is the patroness of miners, which are devoted to the dances and processions. The struggle between the forces of good and evil, a mortal sin, the African American dance – all this can be seen during the festival of vibrant culture and unique folklore, involving elders and youth who represent different social classes.
In 2003 UNESCO declared the carnival in Barranquilla (Barranquilla), as in Oruro, the heritage of humanity. This mixture of Catholic rites and the ancient pagan customs turned into a colorful festival full of music, dancing and Colombian folklore. The carnival, which lasts four days, buried in flowers and filled with theatrical performances involving chariots, dance groups and musical ensembles. The carnival this year is of particular importance, because Barranquilla celebrates two hundred years.
Who has ever been on the carnival Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) – it was under this name he is known – will not forget him ever. The French influence, purple, green and gold, symbolizing justice, faith and power, can be clearly seen on this magnificent view in Louisiana, carrying the audience to the beginning of the XVIII century.
The celebration begins on January 6 and lasts several weeks and is accompanied by a parade of chariots, masquerades, and, of course, baking huge cakes. But the climax of the carnival is “Fat Tuesday” (Mardi Gras), when the streets come to a special group of people in carnival costumes accompanied by distinguished guests who throw the audience necklaces and Souvenirs.
Colorful capital of the French Riviera puts on a festive outfit to plunge into the holidays, filled with exquisite taste and rich in entertainment. No wonder the carnival in nice, rooted in the late nineteenth century, is the biggest winter event on the French Riviera.
Brass bands and living dolls marching through the main streets and avenues, next to the huge chariots, decorated with fresh flowers. People throw fresh cut flowers to the spectators who gathered along the procession route. Carnival this year will last almost three weeks, intends to reiterate its Ecumenical nature. Covers all five continents.
One of the features of the carnival in Notting hill, distinguishing it from the others is that it takes place the last weekend of August. He was born in the mid 60-ies of the last century on the initiative of immigrants, primarily from Jamaica. This festival has kept the atmosphere of the Caribbean: feather decoration, typical clothing southern latitudes contrast sharply with the landscape of this area of London.
Due to its open nature, it became the largest carnival in Europe and the second in the world after Brazil. The special charm of the carnival in Notting hill is that to participate in it invite people from all over the world, without any prior scenario. Each of them brings to the festival what it wants.
The carnival in Tenerife declared a tourist festival of international significance, like the carnival in Cadiz, seeks to acquire the status of heritage of mankind. Inhabitants of the Canary Islands on how to organize this great event and glad to have him. Here masks, costumes, chariots and entertainment mixed with jokes and irony.
Within a few days on the streets follow each other musicians, usually performing songs critical of contemporary reality. It all ends on Tuesday, a large procession, which takes viewers to the beginning of the last century. It is open to anyone, and the protagonists are the Queen.
It was during carnivals are manifested with particular force wit, sense of humor and cheerfulness of the inhabitants of Cadiz. The entire city participates in the preparation of the event, which, like the carnival in Tenerife is considered a tourist festival of international importance.
Due to the actuality performing songs and expressive masks carnival in Cadiz became one of the most interesting and unique in the world.
100-th competition of chastooshkas, choirs, clowns and musical quartets, held annually at the Theater named Manuel de Falla, is of great interest not only among the inhabitants of Cadiz, but also the guests of this city.
Carnival in Sitges (Sitges) begins on Holy Thursday with the arrival in the city Council of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Carnival. The carnival opens with a satirical reading of the notes and is held under the slogan: “During carnival everything is permitted”.
The so-called “Road rampage” is a distinct element of the holiday, which lasts almost a week in the Catalan town known for its cosmopolitanism and free customs.