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Historians tell of a bishop in who threatened excommunication for the sin of playing Carnival games. Festivals differ across the country.
Locals wear disguises with colorful masks and dance. Usually, the celebrations begin with the election of Taita Carnival Father Carnival who heads the festivities and leads the parades in each city.
Recently, a celebration has gained prominence in the northern part of the Andes in the Chota Valley in Imbabura which is a zone of a strong Afro-Ecuadorian population and so the Carnival is celebrated with bomba del chota music.
Latacunga celebrates Carnival in three manners: The Carnival of French Guiana has roots in Creole culture. Everyone participates — mainland French, Brazilians Guiana has a frontier with Brazil , and Chinese as well as Creoles.
Its duration is variable, determined by movable religious festivals: Carnival begins at Epiphany and ends on Ash Wednesday, and so typically lasts through most of January and February.
During this period, from Friday evening until Monday morning the entire country throbs to the rhythm of masked balls and street parades.
Friday afternoons are for eating galette des rois the cake of kings and drinking champagne. The cake may be flavoured with frangipani , guava , or coconut.
Competing groups prepare for months. Dressed to follow the year's agreed theme, they march with Carnival floats, drums, and brass bands.
Brazilian groups are appreciated for their elaborate feathered and sequined costumes. However, they are not eligible for competition since the costumes do not change over time.
Mythical characters appear regularly in the parades: A uniquely Creole tradition are the touloulous. These women wear decorative gowns, gloves, masks, and headdresses that cover them completely, making them unrecognisable, even to the colour of their skin.
On Friday and Saturday nights of Carnival, touloulou balls are held in so-called "universities", large dance halls that open only at Carnival time.
Touloulous get in free, and are even given condoms in the interest of the sexual health of the community. Men attend the balls, but they pay admittance and are not disguised.
The touloulous pick their dance partners, who may not refuse. The setup is designed to make it easy for a woman to create a temporary liaison with a man in total anonymity.
Undisguised women are not welcomed. By tradition, if such a woman gets up to dance, the orchestra stops playing. Alcohol is served at bars — the disguised women whisper to the men "touloulou thirsty", at which a round of drinks is expected, to be drunk through a straw protect their anonymity.
The final four days of Carnival follow a rigid schedule, and no work is done: The most famous Carnival celebration in Guatemala is in Mazatenango.
During February, Mazatenango is famous for its eight-day Carnival Feast. As one Guatemalan website states, "To mention the Carnival of Mazatenango is to bring to mind moments of a happy and cordial party.
In the eight days of this celebration's duration, the local residents have kept alive the traditions of the Department. Carnival in Haiti started in in the capital Port-au-Prince after the declaration of independence.
It is known as Kanaval in the Creole language. It starts in January, known as "Pre-Kanaval", while the main carnival activities begin in February.
In July , Haiti had another carnival called Kanaval de Fleur. An annual song competition takes place. Other places in Haiti celebrate carnival, including Jacmel and Aux Cayes.
Carnival finishes on Ash Wednesday, followed by rara , another parading musical tradition known mainly in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic.
This festival emphasises religion. It is the largest Carnival celebration in Central America. In Mexico , Carnival is celebrated in about cities and towns.
The larger city Carnivals employ costumes, elected queens, and parades with floats, but Carnival celebrations in smaller and rural areas vary widely depending on the level of European influence during Mexico's colonial period.
The largest of these is in Huejotzingo , Puebla , where most townspeople take part in mock combat with rifles shooting blanks, roughly based on the Battle of Puebla.
Other important states with local traditions include Morelos , Oaxaca , Tlaxcala , and Chiapas. In Managua , it is celebrated for two days.
There it is named Alegria por la vida "Joy for Life" and features a different theme each year. Another festival in Managua celebrates patron saint Domingo de Guzman and lasts ten days.
Traditionally beginning on Friday and ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, "los Carnavales", as Panamanians refer to the days of Carnival, are celebrated across the country.
Carnival Week is especially popular because of the opulent Las Tablas Carnival as well as the Carnival celebrations in Panama City and almost all of the Azuero Peninsula.
The Panamanian Carnival is also popular because of the concerts in the most visited areas. The town of Cajamarca is considered the capital of Carnival in Peru.
Local residents of all ages dance around the unsha , or yunsa , a tree adorned with ribbons, balloons, toys, fruits, bottles of liquor, and other prizes.
At a certain point, the Mayordomo governor of the feast walks into the circle. The governor chooses a partner to go to the unsha , which they attempt to cut down by striking it three times with a machete.
The machete is passed from couple to couple as each strikes the tree three times. When the unsha finally falls, the crowd rushes to grab the prizes.
The person who successfully brings down the unsha becomes the following year's governor. While generally peaceful, there have been issues with people using Carnival as a pretext for crime, particularly robbery or vandalism, especially in certain areas of Lima.
The celebration lasts one week and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday. It is one of the oldest carnivals of the Western Hemisphere, dating to Tobago's celebration culminates on Monday and Tuesday on a much smaller scale.
Carnival combines costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying fete-ing. Music styles include soca, calypso , rapso , and more recently chutney and chutney soca.
The annual Carnival steel pan competition known as the National Panorama competition holds the finals on the Saturday before the main event.
Pan players compete in categories such as "Conventional Steel Band" or "Single Pan Band" by performing renditions of the year's calypsos.
Here the Calypso Monarch is chosen after competition and prize money and a vehicle awarded. The King and Queen of the bands are crowned, where each band parades costumes for two days and submits a king and queen, from which an overall winner is chosen.
These usually involve huge, complex, beautiful well-crafted costumes, that includes 'wire-bending'. It means "opening of the day".
Revelers dress in costumes embodying puns on current affairs, especially political and social events. A common character is "Jab-jabs" devils, blue, black, or red complete with pitchfork, pointed horns and tails.
Carnival Monday involves the parade of the mas bands. Revelers wear only parts of their costumes, more for fun than display or competition.
Monday Night Mas is popular in most towns and especially the capital, where smaller bands compete. There is also the "Bomb Competition", a smaller-scaled judging of steel bands.
Carnival Tuesday hosts the main events. Usually "Mas Boots" that complement the costumes are worn. Each band has their costume presentation based on a particular theme, and contains various sections some consisting of thousands of revelers that reflect these themes.
The street parade and band costume competition take place. The singer of the most played song is crowned Road March King or Queen, earning prize money and usually a vehicle.
This parading and revelry goes on until Tuesday midnight. Ash Wednesday itself, while not an official holiday, sends flocks to local beaches.
Krewes organize parades, balls, and other activities. Carnival celebrations, usually referred to as Mardi Gras "Fat Tuesday" in French , were first celebrated in the Gulf Coast area, but now occur in many states.
Customs originated in the onetime French colonial capitals of Mobile now in Alabama , New Orleans Louisiana , and Biloxi Mississippi , all of which have celebrated for many years with street parades and masked balls.
Other major American cities with celebrations include Washington, D. Carnival is celebrated in New York City in Brooklyn. That country has one of the largest Caribbean Carnivals.
In the mid twentieth century, West Indians moved the event from the beginning of Lent to the Labor Day weekend.
Carnival is one of the largest parades and street festivals in New York, with over one million attending. The parade, which consists of steel bands, floats, elaborate Carnival costumes, and sound trucks, proceeds along Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood.
Starting in , the Slovenian-American community located in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood of Cleveland began hosting a local version of Kurentovanje , the Carnival event held in the city of Ptuj , Slovenia.
Mardi Gras celebrations are spreading to other regions, such as the Mississippi Valley region of St. The Carnival in Uruguay lasts more than 40 days, generally beginning towards the end of January and running through mid March.
Celebrations in Montevideo are the largest. The festival is performed in the European parade style with elements from Bantu and Angolan Benguela cultures imported with slaves in colonial times.
During the celebration, theaters called tablados are built in many places throughout the cities, especially in Montevideo.
Traditionally formed by men and now starting to be open to women, the different Carnival groups Murgas , Lubolos, or Parodistas perform a kind of popular opera at the tablados , singing and dancing songs that generally relate to the social and political situation.
The 'Calls' groups, basically formed by drummers playing the tamboril, perform candombe rhythmic figures. The carnival in Uruguay have escolas de samba too, and the biggest samba parades are in Artigas and in Montevideo.
Revelers wear their festival clothing. Each group has its own theme. Women wearing elegant, bright dresses are called vedettes and provide a sensual touch to parades.
Carnival in Venezuela covers two days, 40 days before Easter. It is a time when youth in many rural towns have water fights including the use of water balloons and water guns.
Any pedestrian risks a soaking. Coastal towns and provinces celebrate Carnival more fervently than elsewhere in the country. Venezuelans regard Carnival about the same way they regard Christmas and Semana Santa Holy Week ; the week before Easter Sunday when they take the opportunity to visit their families.
In India, Carnival is celebrated only in the state of Goa and a Roman Catholic tradition, where it is known as Intruz which means "swindler" while Entrudo is the appropriate word in Portuguese for "Carnival".
The largest celebration takes place in the city of Panjim , which was part of Velha Conquista in Goa, but now is celebrated throughout the state.
The tradition was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled Goa for over four centuries. The crepes are filled with freshly grated coconut and heated condensed coconut sap that sequentially converts it into a brown sweet molasses ; additional heat concentration solidifies it to jaggery.
The celebrations of Carnival peak for three days and nights and precede Ash Wednesday, when the legendary King Momo takes over the state.
All-night parades occur throughout the state with bands, dances, and floats. Grand balls are held in the evenings. Although Portugal introduced Christianity and the customs related to Catholic practice in India and Brazil, the celebrations in Goa like Portugal have begun to adopt some aspects of Brazilian-style Carnival celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, samba and other musical elements.
In Indonesia , the word "carnival" or karnaval is not related to pre- Lent festivities, but more to festivals in general, especially those with processions and extravagant costumes.
For almost five centuries, local Greek communities throughout Istanbul celebrated Carnival with weeks of bawdy parades, lavish balls, and street parties.
This continued for weeks before Lent. Baklahorani took place on Shrove Monday, the last day of the carnival season. The event was led by the Greek Orthodox community, but the celebrations were public and inter-communal.
Many parts of Belgium celebrate Carnival, typically with costume parades, partying and fireworks.
The Carnival of Binche dates at least to the 14th century. Parades are held over the three days before Lent; the most important participants are the Gilles , who wear traditional costumes on Shrove Tuesday and throw blood oranges to the crowd.
The celebration takes place during the four days before Shrove Tuesday. All the old traditional costumes parade in the street. People who are disguised pass through the crowd and perform a part of the traditional costume they wear.
Some Belgian cities hold Carnivals during Lent. The participants include the Blancs-Moussis , who dress in white, carry long red noses and parade through town attacking bystanders with confetti and dried pig bladders.
The town of Halle also celebrates on Laetare Sunday. Belgium's oldest parade is the Carnival Parade of Maaseik , also held on Laetare Sunday, which originated in The most famous Croatian Carnival Croatian: The festival includes several events, culminating on the final Sunday in a masked procession.
A similar procession for children takes place on the previous weekend. Many towns in Croatia's Kvarner region and in other parts of the country observe the Carnival period, incorporating local traditions and celebrating local culture.
Some of the towns and places are Grobnik, Permani, Kastav and many others places near Rijeka. Just before the end of Carnival, every Kvarner town burns a man-like doll called a "Pust", who is blamed for all the strife of the previous year.
The traditional Carnival food is fritule , a pastry. This festival can also be called Poklade.
Masks are worn to many of the festivities, including concerts and parties. Children and teachers are commonly allowed to wear masks to school for a day, and also wear masks at school dances or while trick-or-treating.
Carnivals also take place in summer. One of the most famous is the Senj Summer Carnival — first celebrated in Carnival has been celebrated in Cyprus for centuries.
The tradition was likely established under Venetian rule around the 16th century. It may have been influenced by Greek traditions, such as festivities for deities such as Dionysus.
The celebration originally involved dressing in costumes and holding masked balls or visiting friends. In the twentieth century, it became an organized event held during the 10 days preceding Lent according to the Greek Orthodox calendar.
The festival is celebrated almost exclusively in the city of Limassol. Three main parades take place during Carnival. The first is held on the first day, during which the "Carnival King" either a person in costume or an effigy rides through the city on his carriage.
The second is held on the first Sunday of the festival, and the participants are mainly children. The third and largest takes place on the last day of Carnival and involves hundreds of people walking in costume along the town's longest avenue.
The latter two parades are open to anyone who wishes to participate. The word masopust translates literally from old Czech to mean "meat fast", and the festival often includes a pork feast.
The tradition is most common in Moravia but also occurs in Bohemia. While practices vary, masks and costumes are present everywhere.
The holiday is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween , with children dressing in costume and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast.
One popular custom is the fastelavnsris , a switch that children use to flog their parents to wake them up on Fastelavns Sunday. In Norway , students having seen celebrations in Paris introduced Carnival processions, masked balls, and Carnival balls to Christiana in the s and s.
From , the artist federation Kunstnerforeningen held annual Carnival balls in the old Freemasons lodge, which inspired Johan Svendsen 's compositions Norsk Kunstnerkarneval and Karneval in Paris.
The following year, Svendsen's Festpolonaise was written for the opening procession. In England , the season immediately before Lent was called Shrovetide.
A time for confessing sins "shriving" , it had fewer festivities than the Continental Carnivals. Five days of music and street events culminating with a Grand Ball on Fat Tuesday itself.
Loosely based on the New Orleans style of carnival, Hastings has taken its own course. The Nice Carnival was held as far back as , and annually attracts over a million visitors during the two weeks preceding Lent.
Since , a characteristic masked Carnival is celebrated in Limoux. The Dunkirk Carnival is among the greatest and most exuberant carnivals celebrated in Europe.
In the French West Indies , it occurs between the Sunday of Epiphany and Ash Wednesday;  this dates back to the arrival of French colonists in the islands.
The earliest written record of Carnival in Germany was in in Speyer. This time is also called the "Fifth Season". Shrove Tuesday, called Fastnacht or Veilchendienstag , is celebrated in some cities.
Parties feature self-made and more fanciful costumes and occasional masks. The parties become more exuberant as the weeks progress and peak after New Year, in January and February.
The final Tuesday features all-night parties, dancing, hugging, and smooching. Some parties are for all, some for women only and some for children.
Kreppel , or donuts, are the traditional Fasching food and are baked or fried. Some cities are more famous for celebrations such as parades and costume balls.
The Cologne Carnival , as well as those in Mainz , Eschweiler and Düsseldorf , are the largest and most famous.
Other cities have their own, often less well-known celebrations, parades, and parties, such as Worms am Rhein , Speyer , Kaiserslautern , Frankfurt , Darmstadt , Mannheim , Ludwigshafen , Stuttgart , Augsburg , Munich , and Nuremberg.
On Carnival Thursday called "Old Women Day" or "The Women's Day" in commemoration of an revolt by washer-women , women storm city halls, cut men's ties, and are allowed to kiss any passing man.
The Fasching parades and floats make fun of individual politicians and other public figures. Many speeches do the same.
During the pagan era, it represented the time of year when the reign of the grim winter spirits is over, and these spirits are hunted and expelled.
It then adapted to Catholicism. The first official record of Karneval, Fasching or Fastnacht in Germany dates to In Switzerland , Fasnacht takes place in the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, e.
Both began in the Late Middle Ages. Smaller Fasnacht festivities take place across German Switzerland, e. One of the season's high points is Tsiknopempti , when celebrants enjoy roast beef dinners; the ritual is repeated the following Sunday.
Lent begins on " Clean Monday ", the day after "Cheese Sunday". The grand parade of masked troupes and floats is held at noon on Tyrine Sunday, and culminates in the ceremonial burning of the effigy of King Carnival at the Patras harbour.
Other regions host festivities of smaller extent, focused on the reenactment of traditional carnevalic customs, such as Tyrnavos Thessaly , Kozani Western Macedonia , Rethymno Crete , and in Xanthi Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
Their reward for so doing is a shot of the famous local tsipouro alcohol spirit. Every year, from 1 to 8 January, mostly in regions of Western Macedonia, Carnival festivals erupt.
The best known is the Kastorian Carnival or "Ragoutsaria" Gr. It takes place from 6 to 8 January with mass participation serenaded by brass bands, pipises, and Macedonian and grand casa drums.
It is an ancient celebration of nature's rebirth festivals for Dionysus Dionysia and Kronos Saturnalia , which ends the third day in a dance in the medieval square Ntoltso where the bands play at the same time.
It involves locals dressing in woolly costumes, with scary masks and noise-makers. They perform a burial ritual to symbolise the end of winter and spike doughnuts on weapons to symbolise the defeat of the Ottomans.
The Carnival in Venice was first recorded in Its subversive nature is reflected in Italy's many laws over the centuries attempting to restrict celebrations and the wearing of masks.
Carnival celebrations in Venice were halted after the city fell under Austrian control in , but were revived in the late 20th century. The month-long Carnival of Viareggio is characterized mainly by its parade of floats and masks caricaturing popular figures.
In , the town built a new "Carnival citadel" dedicated to Carnival preparations and entertainment. The Carnival of Ivrea is famous for its " Battle of the Oranges " fought with fruit between the people on foot and the troops of the tyrant on carts, to remember the wars of the Middle Ages.
In the most part of the Archdiocese of Milan , the Carnival lasts four more days, ending on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, because of the Ambrosian Rite.
Its name in English means "the time before Lent". The celebration corresponds to Carnival holiday traditions.
A major element symbolizes the defeat of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Devils, witches, goats, the grim reaper , and other joyful and frightening characters appear in costumes during the celebrations.
Eating pancakes is an important part of the celebration. In Luxembourg , the pre-Lenten holiday season is known as Fuesend.
Throughout the Grand-Duchy, parades and parties are held. The town of Remich holds a three-day-long celebration, notable for two special events in addition to its parades.
The other special event at the Remich Fuesend celebrations is the Buergbrennen or bonfire that closes the celebration. Like Remich, the town of Esch-sur-Alzette holds a three-day celebration.
Other major Fuesend parades in Luxembourg are held in the towns of Diekirch and Schifflange. Carnival in Malta Maltese: It is held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dresses, and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats presided over by King Carnival Maltese: The largest celebration takes place in and around the capital city of Valletta and Floriana ; several more "spontaneous" Carnivals take place in more remote areas.
The Nadur Carnival is notable for its darker themes. Traditional dances include the parata , a lighthearted re-enactment of the victory of the Knights Hospitaller over the Turks , and an 18th-century court dance known as il-Maltija.
Carnival food includes perlini multi-coloured, sugar-coated almonds and the prinjolata , which is a towering assembly of sponge cake , biscuits, almonds, and citrus fruits, topped with cream and pine nuts.
Carnival in the Netherlands is called Carnaval , Vastenavond "Eve of Lent" or, in Limburgish , Vastelaovend j , and is mostly celebrated in traditionally Catholic regions, particularly in the southern provinces of North Brabant , Limburg and Zeeland , but also in Gelderland , especially in Twente.
While Dutch Carnaval is officially celebrated on the Sunday through Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, since the s the feast has gradually started earlier and generally includes now the preceding weekend.
Two main variants can be distinguished: Maastricht , Limburg's capital, holds a street carnaval that features elaborate costumes.
The first known documentation dates from the late 8th century Indiculus superstitionum et paganiarum , but Carnaval was already mentioned during the First Council of Nicaea in and by Caesarius of Arles around CE.
In the Netherlands itself, the first documentation is found in in 's-Hertogenbosch. The oldest-known images of Dutch Carnaval festivities date from , also in 's-Hertogenbosch.
Normal daily life comes to a stop for about a week in the southern part of the Netherlands during the carnival, with roads temporary blocked and many local businesses closed for the week as a result of employees who are en masse taking the days off during and the day after the carnival.
The Tuesday before the start of Lent is also often called Ostatki literally "leftovers" , meaning the last day to party before the Lenten season.
The traditional way to celebrate Carnival is the kulig , a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered countryside. In modern times, Carnival is increasingly seen as an excuse for intensive partying and has become more commercialized, with stores offering Carnival-season sales.
Carnaval in Podence and Lazarim incorporates pagan traditions such as the careto , while the Torres Vedras celebration is probably the most typical.
Although Portugal introduced Christianity and the customs related to Catholic practice to Brazil, the country has begun to adopt some aspects of Brazilian-style Carnaval celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, samba and other musical elements.
In Lazarim , a civil parish in the municipality of Lamego , celebrations follow the pagan tradition of Roman Saturnalias.
It celebrates by burning colorful effigies and dressing in home-made costumes. Locally-made wooden masks are worn. The masks are effigies of men and women with horns, but both roles are performed by men.
They are distinguished by their clothes, with caricature attributes of both men and women. The Lazarim Carnaval cycle encompasses two periods, the first starting on the fifth Sunday before Quinquagesima Sunday.
Masked figures and people wearing large sculpted heads walk through the town. The locals feast on meats, above all pork. The second cycle, held on Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday, incorporates the tradition of the Compadres and Comadres, with men and women displaying light-hearted authority over the other.
Over the five weeks, men prepare large masked heads and women raise funds to pay for two mannequins that will be sacrificed in a public bonfire.
This is a key event and is unique to Portugal. During the bonfire, a girl reads the Compadre's will and a boy reads the Comadre's will.
The executors of the will are named, a donkey is symbolically distributed to both female and male "heirs", and then there is the final reckoning in which the Entrudo, or Carnival doll, is burned.
On the islands of the Azores , local clubs and Carnival groups create colorful and creative costumes that jab at politics or culture.
The festival on the biggest island starts off with a black tie grand ball, followed by Latin music at Coliseu Micaelense. A children's parade fills the streets of Ponta Delgada with children from each school district in costume.
A massive parade continues past midnight, ending in fireworks. The event includes theatre performances and dances.
Throughout the show the dancers act out scenes from daily life. The "Dances de Carnival" are allegorical and comedic tales acted out in the streets.
More Portuguese-language theatrical performances occur there than anywhere else. Festivities end on Ash Wednesday, when locals sit down for the "Batatada" or potato feast, in which the main dish is salted cod with potatoes, eggs, mint, bread and wine.
Residents then return to the streets for the burning of the "Carnival clown", ending the season. On the island of Madeira , the island's capital, Funchal , wakes up on the Friday before Ash Wednesday to the sound of brass bands and Carnival parades throughout downtown.
The main Carnival street parade takes place on Saturday evening, with thousands of samba dancers filling the streets. The traditional street event takes place on Tuesday, featuring daring caricatures.
Arguably, Brazil's Carnival could be traced to the period of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries when their caravels passed regularly through Madeira, a territory that emphatically celebrated Carnival.
In Estarreja , in the Central region of Portugal, the town's first references to Carnival were in the 14th century, with "Flower Battles", richly decorated floats that paraded through the streets.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, these festivities ended with the deaths of its main promoters, only to reappear again in the s to become one of many important Carnival festivals in Portugal.
In the Northern region of Podence , children appear from Sunday to Tuesday with tin masks and colorful multilayered costumes made from red, green and yellow wool.
Nelas and Canas de Senhorim host four festive parades that offer colorful and creative costumes: Carnival in the town of Ovar , near Porto, began in and is the region's largest festivity, representing a large investment and the most important touristic event to the city.
It is known for its creative designs, displayed in the Carnival Parade, which features troupes with themed costumes and music, ranging from the traditional to pop culture.
Along with the Carnival Parade, there are five nights of partying, finishing with the famous 'Magical night' where people come from all over the country, mostly with their handmade costumes, only to have fun with the locals.
In Lisbon , Carnival offers parades, dances and festivities featuring stars from Portugal and Brazil. The Loures Carnival celebrates the country's folk traditions, including the enterro do bacalhau or burial of the cod , which marks the end of Carnival and the festivities.
The celebration highlight is a parade of creatively decorated streetcars that satirize society and politics. In these towns, everyone dresses up as if it were Halloween.
Children and adults wear masks. In the Algarve region, several resort towns offer Carnival parades. Besides the themed floats and cars, the festivities include "samba" groups, bands, dances, and music.
The village becomes a live theatre where costumed actors improvise on the streets in roles such as the traditional "August the Stupid".
The Strumica Carnival Macedonian: The Strumica Carnival opens on a Saturday night at a masked ball where the Prince and Princess are chosen; the main Carnival night is on Tuesday, when masked participants including groups from abroad compete in various subjects.
As of , the Festival of Caricatures and Aphorisms has been held as part of Strumica's Carnival celebrations.
It is celebrated during the last week before Lent. The essential element is bliny , Russian pancakes, popularly taken to symbolize the sun.
Round and golden, they are made from the rich foods allowed that week by the Orthodox traditions: In the tradition of Orthodox Lent, the consumption of meat ceases one week before that of milk and eggs.
Maslenitsa also includes masquerades , snowball fights, sledding, swinging on swings, and sleigh rides. The mascot is a brightly dressed straw effigy of Lady Maslenitsa, formerly known as Kostroma.
The celebration culminates on Sunday evening, when Lady Maslenitsa is stripped of her finery and put to the flames of a bonfire. The Slovenian countryside displays a variety of disguised groups and individual characters, among which the most popular and characteristic is the Kurent plural: Kurenti , a monstrous and demon-like, but fluffy figure.
The most significant festival is held in Ptuj see: Its special feature are the Kurents themselves, magical creatures from another world, who visit major events throughout the country, trying to banish the winter and announce spring's arrival, fertility, and new life with noise and dancing.
The origin of the Kurent is a mystery, and not much is known of the times, beliefs, or purposes connected with its first appearance.
The origin of the name itself is obscure. Unique to this region is a group of dormice , driven by the Devil and a huge fire-breathing dragon.
Cerkno and its surrounding area are known for the Laufarji , Carnival figures with artistically carved wooden masks. The major part of the population, especially the young and children, dress up in ordinary non-ethnic costumes, going to school, work, and organized events, where prizes are given for the best and most original costumes.
Costumed children sometimes go from house to house asking for treats. The carnival symbolises the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, winter and spring.
The feeling of this Carnival is the sharp criticism, the funny play on words and the imagination in the costumes, more than the glamorous dressings.
It is traditional to paint the face with lipstick as a humble substitute of a mask. The committee that organizes the events in each town consists of a president and 10 junior members and is called the "Council of Eleven" or Elferrat.
The carnival spirit is then temporarily suspended during Advent and Christmas, and picks up again in earnest in the New Year.
The main event is the street carnival that takes place in the period between the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday. This celebrates the beginning of the "female presence in carnival", which began in , when washer-women celebrated a "workless day" on the Thursday before carnival.
They founded a committee in to strengthen their presence in the still male-dominated carnival celebrations. In many places "fools" take over city halls or municipal government and "wild" women cut men's ties wherever they get hold of them.
Also, as a tradition, women are allowed to kiss every man who passes their way. On the following days, there are parades in the street organized by the local carnival clubs.
The highlight of the carnival period however is Rose Monday Rosenmontag. Although Rose Monday is not an official holiday in the Rhineland, in practice most public life comes to a halt and almost all workplaces are closed.
During these events, hundreds of thousands of people celebrate in the streets, even if temperatures are low, most of them dressed up in costumes. Many regions have special carnival cries Cologne, Bonn and Aachen: The carnival in the Netherlands is partially derived from the Rhenish carnival.
Variants of the name are Fasnacht , Fasnet , or Fasent. In standard German, schmutzig means "dirty", but actually the name is from Alemannic dialects where schmotz means "lard" Schmalz , or "fat".
Paunch Tuesday , often the most intense Fasnacht day. Also, in Germany, this used to be the time of year at the end of winter when the last of the meat from the previous year was the Schmalz lard , also spelled Schmaltz , or rendered fat, and this is consumed before the start of Lent.
The name — Fasnacht — in its different variations is the reference to the time before the coming fasting time of Lent. In some regions of Tyrol, Salzburg and Bavaria, traditional processions of the Perchten welcome the springtime.
The Schönperchten "beautiful Perchts" represent the birth of new life in the awakening nature, the Schiachperchten "ugly Perchts" represent the dark spirits of wintertime.
Farmers yearn for warmer weather and the Perchtenlauf Run of Perchts is a magical expression of that desire. The nights between winter and spring, when evil ghosts are supposed to go around, are also called Rauhnächte.
But it is mostly held on the fifth of December, the day before Saint Nicholas day, and there is no relation with Fasching.
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