So many countries around the world celebrate Carnival but they go unrecognized, so I’m going to introduce you to some of the best-kept secrets when it comes to celebrating Carnival.
Nice Carnival: It’s a magical time for all ages
The Nice Carnival is the main winter event on the French Riviera and one of the largest Carnivals in the world. The Nice Carnival dates back to the late 1200’s, and is still held annually, attracting over millions of visitors from across the world. This year the Nice Carnival “King of Sport” was inspired by the 2012 London Olympics, the festivities began on February 17th and ended on the 4th of March 2012. The Nice Carnival aims to please both children and adults, its more of a family gathering rather than the others which are a lot more grown.
The entrance fee for this big parade was €10 for adults and €5 for children, and free entrance to Place Massena for those lavishly dressed for the Parade of lights. This family event has been highly spoken about for many years; I recommend that everyone witness such a remarkable event!
Tenerife Carnival: Recorded second biggest Carnival in the world
Every February Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the Canary Islands, hosts the event of which was declared as Heritage of Mankind in 2011. The Canary Islands aspire to become a World Heritage Site.
One of the most important events at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is the election of the Carnival Queen; this is a display of some of the most breathtaking and high-priced gowns. The Carnival last an astounding 10 days, this years theme was 60’s flower power. The only event that has an entrance fee is the election of the Carnival Queen, which is $13. This one of a kind festival has been ranked high, need I suggest any other reason you should experience it for yourself?
This years Queen Carmen Gill Gonzales.
Ecuador Carnival: Agua no mas!
An Ecuadorian Carnival is really like no other; a common feature of this cultures festival is the diablitos (little devils) who play with water. They make water balloons and throw them as if it was a snowball fight as well as throwing eggs and a foam that resembles shaving crème on street victims. Usually practiced by children, these festivities are more common on the coastal parts of the country.
Different festivities include painting ones face, wearing masks and dancing in the streets to live music. Carnival beings with the election of Father Carnival who heads most of the festivities and leads the parades in different cities throughout the country. One of the more popular cities in Ecuador known for his celebrations is the city of Ambato, the festivities there are called Fiesta de las Flores y las Frutas.
On the coast, everyone heads to the beach where they relax with family and friends, partaking in some of the craziest activities known to man while enjoying their culture and making new memories. I had the opportunity to experience Ecuadorian Carnival in the city of Salinas, which is a city on the costal region of Ecuador. Everything is free to the public minus your desired carnival weapons, and living accommodations if visiting.
I was hit with eggs, sprayed with foam and thrown into a lake. Who wouldn’t want to experience this? I know I would do it all over again if given the opportunity!
Sydney Carnival: A queer Mardi gras
Some might find the term queer a little impolite but in Sydney this is how they refer to their Carnival celebrations a day dedicated to the more colorful sets of people. Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexual and Transsexuals take the lead for this celebration referring to it as the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, which occurs every 12th of February until the 4th of March. This is the biggest gay pride event down under! This festival is open to any and everyone that wants to experience something like no other, from parties, concerts, parades, fashion shows, artistic shows to drag queens and after parties in some of Australia’s most prestige nightclubs.
Australia promises you a Mardi gras like no other! Mardi Gras down under cost a pretty penny, the basic price for a general admission ticket to Mardi Gras Land is $136.30 and that’s just 2 parties! Ouch!
Trinidad and Tobago: Oh Bacahanal!
A Caribbean Carnival, now this one I can relate to! The Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday leading up to Ash Wednesday, festivities such as Dimanche Gras, J’ouvert and Masquerade are held in the countries capital of Port of Spain.
Trinidad and Tobago (Trini) hosts the biggest Carnival celebrations in the entire Caribbean. Many people from nearby countries flock to Trini for this spectacular celebration, including the festive costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum and partying. The music affiliated with this Carnival is Soca, Calypso and Rapso.
Dimanche Gras takes place the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, here the Calypso Monarch is chosen and prizes are distributed. J’ouvert, takes place before dawn on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, it marks the opening to this wonderful season. J’ouvert goers (revelers) dress in costumes that make use of the current affairs. Clean mud, oil paint and body paint are usually painted on ones body during J’ouvert. On Carnival Monday, revelers march in parades with masquerade bands, wearing only pieces of their costumes having fun on a more casual and relaxed level.
If compared to any other Carnival, Trini’s Carnival could be compared to that of Rio de Janeiro. But there is still no Carnival like a Caribbean one; from calypso to soca any and everyone will feel at ease as your hips guide you throughout these wonderful festivities. So put on your most colorful and scandalous costume and lets stride down the streets of Port of Spain!!
- Photos courtesy of google, my personal experiences and a friend.