Have you got your costume ready for this year’s carnivals? The team at Tatutrad loves a party, and this has to be one of the most interesting festivals for its origins and the different traditions upheld throughout the world. Do you want to know what they are? Travel around the world with us to discover the different celebrations!
Do you know where the carnival originated? This festival was first celebrated during Roman times and was linked to the Saturnalia feasts. It became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages. The term originates from Latin and literally means “to put away flesh”, as it was usually celebrated before the Lenten fast.
First off, we’re going to look at how carnivals are celebrated in Spain, where our translation company is based. Who hasn’t heard of the carnival of Cádiz? It’s mainly known for its “comparsas” and “chirigotas”, satirical street performers who sing about current affairs. The difference between the two is that “chirigotas”are more comical, while “comparsas” are a poetic critique.
Now it’s time to move on to some of the most famous carnivals in the world. It really is worth going to the country in question during the festival to experience it in person:
- Venice (Italy): this is the oldest carnival in the world and is a far cry from other carnivals in that it prioritises the elegance of the Baroque period. It’s famous for its mysterious masks and period costumes.
- Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): this carnival sees the largest number of people come together for its celebration. The festival is famous for its colourful costumes, performances and iconic Sambadrome, where all the samba schools parade to be crowned the champion of the carnival. Its origin is found in the Portuguese adaptation of Italian masquerade balls.
- Cologne (Germany): the city offers a complete activity programme that has earned this festival its fame in recent years. Weiberfastnacht, in which women wear fancy dress and carry scissors to cut off men’s ties, is celebrated on the first Thursday of carnival. Another highlight is “Rose Monday”, when there is a parade where everyone wears red.
- Notting Hill (England): this London carnival, originally created by Jamaican immigrants, became famous in the 60s and stands out for its Caribbean theme. It’s an ideal opportunity to enjoy Jamaican music without needing to cross the pond.
- New Orleans (USA): during this celebration, the city turns purple, green and gold. It is known as Mardi Gras (literally, Fat Tuesday) and stands out for its lively atmosphere and procession of floats. One of the traditions involves collecting and exchanging colourful necklaces.
And talking about festivals, the feast day of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, is celebrated in March. On March 17, Ireland is inundated with the colour green, four-leaf clovers and beer. This celebration probably isn’t new to you, but there have to be some interesting factors that you’re not aware of:
- Saint Patrick was not Irish, nor was he called Patrick. In fact, he was called Maewyn Succat and he was born in Scotland. He reached Ireland after escaping from pirates and there he learned Gaelic. He left for France to become a priest and there he was named Patricius. Aged 46, he decided to return to the Emerald Isle to evangelise the people where he stayed until his death.
- Although everything is usually turned green, the colour of the Order of Saint Patrick was in fact sky blue. The use of green dates back to the end of the 18th century due to the four-leaf clovers of the Irish independence movement. According to tradition, anyone not wearing green that day will get a pinch.
- During the 20th century, St. Patrick’s Day was considered a purely religious festival, which is why pubs tended to stay closed and there was no drinking, but in 1970, the 1903 law that laid down these rules was abolished, and people celebrated once again with beer. In fact, sales of Guinness soar on that day, doubling to reach the figure of 13 million pints.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland, but rather in Boston in the year 1737, long before the first parade in Ireland in 1931.
Did you like our post on carnivals and St. Patrick’s Day? We hope it inspires your next holiday destination and that you put some of the traditions that we’ve mentioned into practice.
Author: Loli Guerrero