Art Culture > Carnival around the world? It’s not all about Rio Date posted: February 27, 2014

Carnival around the world?
It’s not all about Rio

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans

From Quebec to Greece celebrate with us Carnival around the world: find out what happens in locations far from the much-talked-about Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

Carnival is celebrated grandly in Italy, both as a tradition and as a celebration related to religion. But Carnival is celebrated worldwide, too, and not only in the renowned location of Rio de Janeiro in Brasil.

Colombia

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Colombia

Each neighborhood in Barranquilla, a city in Northern Colombia, organizes a theme party, each year different. Only two masks are always present: the Policeman and Death. Death is represented by a costume with a skeleton painted on a black suit that throws flour at the “victims” who he grabs with the sickle. “El Congo” is the name given to the team of “policemen” who go around with a wooden knife, to establish law and order.

Greece

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Greece

The most famous Carnival in Greece is located in Pratasso where it is celebrated for three weeks ongoing with dance parties. The chocolate fight is especially well known, where some masked young women throw sweets and flower petals to the crowd. The main mask actually comes from Venice, the “domino nero” (black domino): he wears a black mantel as referring to the black silks that were imported from Venice.

Basle

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Basle

Carnival is celebrated on February 18th in Basle but it is celebrated during the night: the city wakes and all the inhabitants head to the city center, where all the restaurants and pubs stay open overnight and people eat a flour soup called Mehlsuppe. At dawn everyone goes back to their homes and then to work, until in the afternoon they head back to the city center for a parade with hundreds of masks. On Tuesday Carnival is celebrated with children that dress up and stroll the city like real protagonists.

Denmark

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Denmark

In Dragor, a town near Copenhagen, they hold a contest to nominate the “king of cats”. People dressed up ride a horse while trying to hit a little barrel hung between poles: long ago the barrel would hold a cat inside, now (thankfully) it is substituted by candies that are given to the first one who hits the barrel with only one stroke.

Finland

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Finland

Guess what is the symbol of Finland? You guessed right, but it was an easy one: a sled. Kids fight the cold by drinking hot milk and croissants filled with almond paste and spend the day outside enjoying the snow.

New Orleans

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - New Orleans

This city definitely hosts the most famous Carnival in all United States. Floats parade for four days in the city: New Orleans Carnival’s origins date back to 1827, to the Mardi Gras celebration. In 1833 Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a land owner, subsidized the Mardi Gras celebrations and in 1837 the first parade ever was organized in the city.

Quebec

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Quebec

Canada celebrates no matter the temperature might be: despite thermometers being well below zero, in fact, Quebec City Carnival involves kids and adults in parades and cultural activities for 17 days! On the last day fireworks are lit near the Parliament building. The protagonist of the celebration is the Bonhomme Carnaval, a “living” snowman that entertains kids on the street, while adults warm up with a special drink, “caribou”, made with vodka, Porto and sherry.

Carnival is also celebrated in Malta, in Nice, in London, in the Virgin Islands.

Are you curios in the end about what happens in Rio de Janeiro after all?

Carnival traditions around the world from Brazil to New Orleans - Rio

Carnival dates back to the traditions that African people and Portuguese people brought from Azores around the world. The first music for Carnival was written in the late 19th Century, and the first sambas in the 20th Century. Later on, in the 30’s, people started to study samba and were organized contests to figure out who was the best dancer. Today this one is the core of Carnival so it is thought that everything started that way.

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