Nothing makes for a better holiday than a carnival. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle on streets, fantastically colorful clothes, lots of great music and delicious food, a carnival could become a perfect reason to visit one of the many locations around the world. Here are 4 most beautiful carnivals around the world.
The Carnival of Venice
This classic carnival in the stunning city of Venice, Italy, is one that celebrates the transition from winter to spring in a most glorious fashion. The tradition dates back to the 14th century and today the Venetian carnival attracts millions of tourists from around the world who want to experience the city full of people in outrageous costumes and handmade Venetian masks. Be sure to get one of these unique masks and join the crowd in countless balls, shows, dinners, cocktails, and parties – this festivity is open to everyone!
Berlin Carnival of Cultures
This is a relatively novel tradition since the Carnival of Cultures was established in 1996. Happening in the capital of Germany, Berlin, the festival is definitely one of the most anticipated events of the year. The Carnival of Cultures celebrates the diversity of cultures within the city which is home to over 450,000 people coming from different corners of the world.
Berlin is known for its diversity and this festival is easily the best way to experience and celebrate it. During the festival, visitors can try international cuisines, listen to music, see dance shows and participate in countless other activities which arose as integral parts of the festival. Held in spring, the festival always includes a special parade which recognizes as many as 80 different cultures. Way to celebrate multiculturalism!
Mardi Gras dates back to the 19th century and it was brought to New Orleans, Louisiana, by the French. Today it’s easily one of the most popular festivals in the entire United States. During Mardi Gras, thousands of people flock into the city to celebrate ‘Fat Tuesday’, which falls just a day before Ash Wednesday – the beginning of a 40-day long Lent celebrated in Catholic tradition.
Over the years, Mardi Gras acquired an international character and today its parades, marching bands, parties, jazz concerts, floats and cuisine celebrate cultural diversity in the recurring colors of purple (standing for justice), gold (power) and green (faith). One of the most interesting traditions is the making and eating of King Cakes. If you’re in New Orleans mid-February, make sure to come back with characteristic doubloons and beads as souvenirs.
Carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Probably the most impressive and popular festival in the world, the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro is a must-see if you find yourself in Brazil just before the traditional Lent period. This carnival and Mardi Gras share some roots, but their development took completely different turns.
The carnival of Rio lasts four days and signifies a farewell to the pleasures of the flesh prior to Lent. Today it’s an event which takes many months to prepare and organize. Its iconic Samba Parade is considered one of the most beautiful shows in the world for a good reason!
If you’re a samba enthusiast, this is the best place to be – you’ll see many spectacular shows in the Sambodrome lasting all night as samba groups compete with each other. The Street carnival offers as many as 400 different groups called Bandas and Blocos which march, dance and sing in costume throughout the entire neighborhoods. The carnival is usually televised on international broadcasts, but being there is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
All these carnivals are definitely worth your attention – there’s no better way to experience foreign cultures than by participating in events which celebrate them to the maximum.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lee is an avid and independent traveler, always hoping to see some less famous and uncharted places that tourists normally don’t reach. Professionally, she is a blogger writing for PACK & SEND, where she shares her traveling stories and guides.