As New Orleans rounds up their celebrations on Mardi Gras so does the rest of the Caribbean, and South American countries who celebrated carnival through out the month of February. From colorful parades by day, many turn out by night for concerts where some of the biggest artists in Latin America take the stage. The reason for so carnival celebrations in so many countries is for the lead in into Ash Wednesday on February 18th. Carnival’s normally take place from February 2nd to the 17th.
In Brazil, carnivals are the most anticipated event of the year. Millions of brazilians take the streets as they are gathered by the music of samba bands. The carnival is kicked off by a gala funded by Vogue Brazil where some of the world’s top models and famous faces from Brazil gather in luxurious costumes. One of the most well known parades in Brazil is in Rio De Janeiro when some of the top schools in the country compete with their songs and dance for top honors during the carnival.
The second biggest carnival after Rio de Janeiro’s is in Colombia. The city of Barranquilla is known for it’s flower parade. Thousands of tourists witness the “Battle of flowers” where the best of Colombia’s culture is brought to life during the parade. From handcrafted hats and personalized t-shirts over 1.5 million people gather to dance to cumbia and celebrate the Colombian culture.
In Slovenia,Ptuj pagan carnival has slovenians dressed up masks with monstrous prosthetic tongue symbolically used to “scare away winter”.The main figures, are called Kurent or Korent, they wear massive sheepskin costumes and a chain of large bells around their waist. Over 100,000 people take part in Kurentovanje, celebrating the end of the winter.
Although it’s not as big as Barranquilla’s or Rio de Janeiro’s carnival their is something distinct about this carnival. What makes the countries carnival so distinguishable is that the carnival extends until the February 27th, Dominican Independence day. In the city of La Vega, many of the streets are converted into caves that symbolize different colors and tribes in the carnival. During the carnival many witnesses of the parades gather in the cave of their favorite carnival tribe group and cheer them on as the tribe is being released into the streets of the parade.
Another unique carnival is in Venice, Italy. This carnival which is a ten day fest leading up to lent, is filled by participants who wear traditional masks. The carnival is considered on of the world’s oldest festivities and celebrate the old traditions of Italy. Many tourists gather along the bridges of the canals to watch the parade take place where many of the masked participants are seen on gondola rides.