20 Feb 2017

THE CARNIVAL. Origin, history and great celebrations.

The Carnival is a worldwide celebration.

Some scholars speculate that the true origins of carnival actually lie in pagan rituals predating Christianity.

The term Carnival (or Carnaval, in Spanish), has an etymology that can find little accord among those who explain its origins. Perhaps beginning with the question of whether the roots of the word date back to latin, and which terms they seem to derive from, several theories about the origin of Carnival persist, each with its own explanation.

The timing of Carnival celebrations around the world also plays an important role in these theories, in particular as it relates to Christianity. Taking place in February, Carnival occurs just before Lent, a time in which Christians all over the world choose to fast, involving the avoidance of eating meat as dictated by the Church. In this context, one theory claims that the term is derived from the latin carne and vale, literally, saying goodbye to meat. Others who support this theory link it to the Italian expression, carne levare, with the same meaning.

Although many people usually associate the holiday of Carnival as something celebrated, many would be surprised to know that it is in fact, a worldwide celebration.

The many themes surrounding this holiday include masks, parades, fireworks, dancing, and of course, celebrating in the streets with brightly colored clothes and music impossible not to dance to. Celebrated in countries where there is a strong Catholic background, those of other religions can not help me moved by the joyous festivites surrounded by Carnival. The origin of Carnival, as mentioned before, appears to have been born from the practices of Lent, where people refrained from parties and the consumption of certain foods rich in meat, sugar, and dairy. Because these foods where not to be eaten during the forty days of Lent, participants usually formed massive parties where these foods were enjoyed before being shelved or thrown away.

The name “carnival” appears to come from the Italian word for meat “carne”, which would explain its Christian origin. In Italian “carne levare” means “to remove meat”, while in Latin “carne vale” means “farewell to meat”. Both terms reflect similar meanings. As the Italian Carnivals became ever so festive, their popularity stemmed to the surrounding countries of France, Spain, and Portugal, other countries with a strong Catholic influence. Afterwards, as these countries began exploring the Americas, they took with them their much beloved traditions.

Great carnival celebrations in the world


1. Tenerife Carnival, Spain

2. Venice Carnival, Italy

3. Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil

4. Binche Carnival, Belgium

5. Mardi Gras, New Orleans, USA

6. Cadiz Carnival, Spain

7. Oruro Carnival, Bolivia

8. Viareggio Carnival, Italy

9. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival

10. Sitges Carnival, Spain

11. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival, Gran Canaria, Spain

12. Ivrea Carnival, Italy

13. Torelló Carnival, Spain

14. Notting Hill Carnival, London

Fonts.- VisualThesauris; Transpanish; Trusted.


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