Log Out
A group of people dressed as 'Gilles of Binche' arrive to the Grand Place to pick up their jubilee medals at the City Hall during a traditional carnival in Binche

All the world's a Carnival

Tracing the festivities from Rio to Goa in pictures

By AP

  • Published 26.02.20, 7:06 PM
  • Updated 27.02.20, 6:04 PM

Carnival is celebrated all over the world, predominantly in Roman Catholic countries, and is the final period of celebration where people feast and confess in preparation of the spiritual rigors of Lent.

Lent is the 40-day period of fasting and abstinence, when Christians around the world prepare to mark Easter, the remembrance of Jesus’ death. Carnival, or carne vale ("farewell to meat") celebrations traditionally precede Lent, and are seen as a last opportunity for excess before the solemn period begins.

The origins of the Carnival date back to ancient Romans and the Greeks. The traditions have been celebrated for centuries as a festival to drive away demons to celebrate the end of winter and the rites of spring.

Here are some scenes of this year’s Carnival celebrations from across the globe:

AALST, BELGIUM

AP
Photo Credit: AP

Many parts of this country celebrate Carnival, typically with costume parades, partying and fireworks, but this year’s street parade in Aalst also featured anti-Semitic floats! The centuries-old event in central Belgium has been long known for mocking public figures, but in recent years been accused of insulting depictions of Jews- a stunt which lost them a place on the UNESCO heritage list last year. The tiny Belgian town's ancient version of Mardi Gras involves eerie wax masks, sticks for warding off evil, and ostrich plume hats.

Advertisement

VENICE, ITALY

AP
Photo Credit: AP

The Carnevale di Venezia is world-famous for its elaborate masks, and not even the ominous coronavirus could take that beauty away. The Venice Carnival was concluded early this year on Sunday, to take precaution against the coronavirus, which has claimed seven lives in the country so far. Most costumes are traditionally Venetian in that they feature Venetian masquerade masks and traditional capes or gowns.

Advertisement

RIO, BRAZIL 

AP
Photo Credit: AP

The Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro is considered the biggest carnival in the world; and although the Carnival is celebrated across Brazil, Rio is at the centre of it all. This year, samba-school floats, dancers in extravagant costumes and ‘blocos’, or street parties, used the festival as a platform for protest against the divisive rhetoric that has marked president Jair Bolsonaro’s first year in office. This year, the Mangueira parade will tell the story of Jesus born in the favela who stands up to “prophets of intolerance”, The Guardian reports.

Advertisement

AP
Photo Credit: AP

Rosenmontag, or Rose Monday, is the highlight of the German Karneval. Biting commentary on racism in Germany featured prominently among Carnival floats in western cities, hastily put together in the aftermath of a deadly far-right attack last week near Frankfurt, AP reports.

SPAIN

AP
Photo Credit: AP

Plenty of blood, but no injuries. A bizarre tradition rooted in ancient times is made alive by those who fancy mingling with the dead. Devilishly dressed ‘Momotxorros’, donned in blood-splattered cloth and animal heads, scare and goad everyone in their paths, pitchforks in hand, during the weeklong Alsasua fiesta. This year, hundreds of revellers, including children, celebrated the pre-Lent carnival of 'Momotxorro' in the small northern town of Alsasua in the Spanish Pyrenees, on Tuesday.

SWITZERLAND

AP
Photo Credit: AP

The frenzied Swiss carnival season, also known as Fasnacht in Switzerland’s German-speaking areas, is an opportunity for the normally well-mannered Swiss to let their hair down. Tradition calls for a time to let loose before the penitential period of Lent. Basler Fasnacht, or the Carnival of Basel, is the biggest carnival in Switzerland. For exactly 72 hours, participants run free in the streets and restaurants of central Basel, giving the festival the moniker ‘die drey scheenschte Dääg’ (the three most beautiful days). The Carnival here is different from those held in other cities along the Rhine (like Dusseldorf, Mainz or Cologone), as there is a clear, well-maintained separation between participants and spectators. This year, it will be held on Monday, March 2, 2020.

NICE, FRANCE

AP
Photo Credit: AP

If there is a festival worth mentioning in the South of France, it is this! Being one of the world’s major Carnival events alongside the Brazilian and the Venetian Carnivals, the Nice Carnival is held annually on the French Riviera, since the Middle Ages. A mock ‘king’ participates in the parade by signalling the beginning of the festivities.

GOA, INDIA

Carnivaland
Photo Credit: Carnivaland

The Carnival is the most anticipated event in the Goa, and lasted from February 22 to 25 this year. Republic World reports that although technically a catholic celebration, the Goa Carnival is mixed with local Goan culture and also many Hindu traditions. Carnival King Momo says "Kha, piye, and majja kar".

OUR FIVE FAVOURITE SNAPSHOTS:

AP
Photo Credit: AP

A ''Momotxorro'' with his face covered in blood takes part in the carnival, in Alsasua, northern Spain

AP
Photo Credit: AP

A performer from the Vila Isabel samba school parades on a float during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Advertisement

AP
Photo Credit: AP

A young girl dressed as Snow White plays with confetti as she waits for the main parade of the 148th Monthey Carnival in Monthey, Switzerland

AP
Photo Credit: AP

A handicapped dog called "David" with a handmade wheelchair and wearing a custom jersey walks the beach during Carnival Caribe 2020 in La Guaira, Venezuela

Advertisement

AP
Photo Credit: AP

Youngsters dressed up with traditional costumes arrive to perform during the annual carnival near the Grand Place in Binche, Belgium

1748569 1737158

Advertisement

More From Photos