Whether you are in a festive mood or just curious to see who’s behind the mask, join the masquerade and celebrate life with magnificent photos of exotic spectacles and costume design.
Millions of people dancing in the streets, wearing extravagant costumes and abandoning their daily lives for just a few days in order to participate in the grandiose festivities. The idea of the carnival has vastly evolved throughout the years, and is now a grand celebration of tradition mixed with basic need to let loose and party.
Where did the carnivals come from and where are they now?
A carnival is a ritual in which social norms are paused, desired behavior suspended and social roles are reversed. It originated as a Christian feast meant to symbolize the passage from winter to summer, from darkness to light. Even today, the largest carnivals can be found in predominantly Catholic areas, although the religious aspects have faded with time and today carnivals are viewed as tradition rather than religion. They have evolved into a great attraction for tourists, thus becoming even more grandiose and magnificent. So where exactly can we experience these grand celebrations? Here are some of the largest carnivals in the world:
Carnival Rio De Janeiro – 40 days before Easter, around 2 million people fill the streets of Rio each day, for 4 days of festivities. Parades, street bands and colorful costumes illuminate the city while everyone joins the samba-dancing celebration.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans – Two weeks of celebration come to a peak on the night of Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter). Roughly 750,000 people party throughout the streets of New Orleans and it has easily become one of the biggest and most well-known street parties in the world.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnaval – Like Mardi Gras, this two-week long event peaks with the main parade on the day before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday. Hundreds of music groups spread throughout the city for a celebration that includes feasts, dancing and the televised Carnival Queen competition.
Carnevale di Venezia – 20 days of events peak during the two weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday, as thousands attend the various private and public events this carnival has to offer. The main attractions are the masquerade parties, where the traditions of old are honored with glorious parties where everyone wears a mask and elaborate costume.
Carnaval de Nice – In mid-February, over 1000 musicians and dancers from around the world gather in Nice, France for 15 days that include 11 parades and many more social events. Around 100,000 flowers are thrown to the streets of Nice from the parade floats in this wonderfully colorful carnival.
As we honor the traditions of the past, we have found a great reason to drop everything and party!