Happy Carnival 2022!


Carnival is a celebration of several Christian and non-Christian countries, immediately before Christian Lent (which begins with Ash Wednesday).

The celebrations of the Carnival vary between February and March, depending on the liturgical calendar. Therefore, Carnival is connected to Lent, a time of fasting, reflection, and abstinence for Christians in which the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is commemorated.

Carnival is usually celebrated from a Sunday until the following Tuesday. However, the most important day is Shrove Tuesday, just before Ash Wednesday.

Origin of Carnival

There is no certain origin of Carnival. Some historians affirm that the Carnival comes from ancient festivities that the Sumerians and the Egyptians carried out, the latter to the god Apis, approximately 5000 years ago.

However, most agree that Carnival dates back to pagan festivities of the Romans in honor of the god Bacchus (god of wine).

Carnival marked some special days within certain repressions imposed by religion, be it sexual repression or the severe fasting of Lent that came immediately after in rural Christian societies. Without exaggeration, in the time of Charlemagne, the violation of the prohibition of eating meat during Lent was punishable by death!

With the expansion of the Roman Empire, various traditions and festivities spread around Europe, including Carnival. And later, it began to be part of the American culture (due to the Spanish and Portuguese conquests), with certain pre-Hispanic cultural additions.

Interestingly, in Greek mythology, the figure of Momo appears, the god of mockery and sarcasm. In some Latin American countries, one of the central characters of the Carnivals is King Momo, who is given the keys to the city every year.

The Carnival is not considered by the Church as a religious celebration, except when it involves a set of behaviors, sometimes not very modest.

Today, it is considered a merely festive celebration beyond this date’s possible and diverse origins. It is of such magnitude in certain parts of the world that it is considered their greatest tourist attraction.

People from all over the world travel to these places to live the Carnival experience. Later we will comment on the places that stand out for their Carnival celebrations.


The etymology of the word Carnival also has several versions.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church proposed an etymology for carnival: from the vulgar Latin carnem-levare, which would mean “abandon the meat.” Which would be related to the days after Lent that follow immediately after the festivities.

Another version is that the word derives from the Italian “Carnevale,” made up of “meat” and “vale,” which means to remove. It also agrees with the abandonment of meat consumption.

However, the nineteenth-century historian Jacob Burkhardt proposed the idea that carnival derives from the expression “carrus navalis,” used to call a procession of masks that culminated in the launching of a wooden ship decorated with floral offerings in honor of the goddess Isis, an event that took place every year at the beginning of March as the opening of the navigation season.

This last theory is the one that many scholars and researchers hold.

Celebrations around the world

Venice Carnival

Festivity was declared in 1296. The curious thing is that Napoleon prohibited it; however, for the citizens, it was the way to “escape” from social and political problems for a few days; and in addition, at a particular time, it also served for the nobility to mix with the rest of the town. Hence comes the special importance of masks in Venice.

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival

The Spanish and Portuguese arrived in Brazil at the festival, mixing with certain native dyes at colonization. Currently, the main attractions of this celebration are the samba and the float parades.

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Some sources state that the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been celebrated since 1600, and the custom was for women to dress as men and vice versa. Nowadays, the celebrations that occur here attract many tourists eager to see the troupes, the street bands (called “murgas”), and the costumes.

Cadiz Carnivals

Like the one in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Cadiz Carnival has been declared an Asset of International Tourist Interest. The streets are filled with costumed visitors and fellow citizens performing various artistic acts, such as dances and choreographies. The songs intoned during the festivities, in general, are ironic and sarcastic to criticize current social and political events.

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