Let the carnival begin! Parades, performances, song and dance—these are just some of the attractions offered by the largest carnival celebrations in the world. Where would you like to go this year?
The Carnival of Venice is best known for the elaborate masks and costumes worn by the revelers. The daily contests for the most beautiful mask draw great crowds. Another carnival tradition is the Festa delle Marie, or the Feast of Mary. On the last day of the festivities, one of twelve beautiful young women is chosen to be the Angel that will “fly” over St. Mark’s square the following year. Two other flights are held, too—of the Eagle and of the winged Lion, the symbol of the city.
What makes the Carnival of Cádiz so unique? More than anything, it’s the dedication of the residents, who start their preparations long time before the fiesta. Attired in clever and imaginative costumes, they set out to mock and ridicule—and oftentimes sharply criticize—public figures, from politicians to celebrities.
Of course, the most famous carnival party of all is held in Rio de Janeiro. The celebrations open with the crowning of the Carnival King, who receives the keys to the city from the mayor himself. The most iconic aspect of the Brazilian carnival are the dance parades at the Sambadrome. Dancers from local samba schools prepare all year long to present their skills—and costumes—to the public. The results are truly unforgettable.
The Nice Carnival begins with the arrival of the Carnival King. Notable events include the Parade of Lights (during which as much as 20 tons of confetti are used), and the Flower Festival—a colorful parade of themed flower floats. The flower battles “fought” between the participants and the audience over the course of the festival can consume up to 100,000 fresh flowers! On the last night, the effigy of the king is set on fire and put out to sea.
It doesn’t matter where you are—give in to carnival fever!