Carnivals of the world

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Carnival is one of the greatest celebrations of the year where dressing up and masquerade take place in street parades with a certain circus ambience that gives the whole thing a sense of illusion and magic. The main celebrations usually happen in February, around the Christian observance of Lent. But if you are keen on this celebration, you’ll be glad to know that you can join Carnival celebrations almost all year around!

Here is a list of the most renown in each continent/region:

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain) — starting on February 1, 2019
If you can’t get to Rio for Carnival, this is probably the closest thing. You won’t be disappointed

Patras Carnival (Greece) — starting on January 17, 2019
A series of events including parades, treasure hunts and plenty of activities for kids and grown ups alike

Carnival of Venice (Italy) — starting on February 23, 2019
Amazingly beautiful and delicate masks in probably the most famous carnival in Europe

Carnival of Viareggio (Italy) — starting on February 9, 2019
Massive satirical paper-pulp figures paraded on floats along the main avenue; celebrated every one of the four Sundays before Lent

Diekirch Carnival (Luxemburg) — starting on February 16, 2019
Competing with many other great Carnival celebrations in the country, this is probably the one with the largest number of floats

Carnival of Nice (France) — starting on February 16, 2019
Held in this beautiful city of the French Rivera, this is probably the biggest Carnival in Europe after the one in Venice

Carnival of Cadiz (Spain) — starting on February 28, 2019
Clever satirical and hysterical songs are sung by groups of witty men and women (known as comparsas and chirigotas) that dressed in funny customs come out to perform after having practice the whole year

Cologne Carnival (Germany) — starting on February 28, 2019
Although it officially begins at 11:11h every November 11th, the main celebrations occur on Rose Monday (Rosenmontag), right before Ash Wednesday

Bohemian Carnival in Prague (Czech Republic) — starting on March 2, 2019
The highlight of this event is the recall of the historical spectacles of the festivities celebrated during the Middle Ages

Carnival of Binche (Belgium) — starting on March 3, 2019
Come meet the funny-looking Gilles with their official dress, wax masks, wooden footwear and feathery hats

Morgestraich | Carnival of Basel (Switzerland) — starting on March 11, 2019
Starting at 4am the first monday after Ash Wednesday, the whole city is kept in the dark until the huge lanterns take the street and revelry unravels everywhere

Karneval der Kulturen in Berlin (Germany) — starting on June 7, 2019
Multicultural festival where tolerance is what sparks this colourful celebration

Notting Hill Carnival in London (UK) — starting on August 24, 2019
Led by members of the West Indian community in London, this summer carnival has become one of the largest street festival in the world

Sugar Mas in Basseterre (Saint Kitts and Nevis) — starting on January 1, 2019
A true extravaganza of calypso, pageants, soca music, street jamming, parades and local folklore

Aruba Carnival — starting on January 5, 2019
A month-long celebration that shows how serious Arubans take; specially at the street parties, locally known as jump-ups

Haitian Carnival (Haiti) — starting on February 21, 2019
Several weeks of celebrations leading to Mardi Gras, where the main event called Defile Kanaval is staged in the capital

Carnival of Curaçao — starting on February 24, 2019
The opening ceremony takes place right before New Years Eve in anticipation of all the celebrations that will last until mid February

Carnival of Martinique — starting on March 3, 2019
Street parades with a distinctly European flavor ending with the burning of Vaval, a papier-mâché figure symbolizing Carnival

Dominica Carnival — starting on March 4, 2019
Calypso music and dance are present in all the events celebrated during this long holiday

Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago — starting on March 4, 2019
The J’Ouvert party marks the beginning of the Carnival season, where local music and revellers take to the streets, followed by a series of costume competitions

Carnival of the Dominican Republic — starting on March 4, 2019
Colourful devil costumes depicting tradicional characters distinguish this festivity that lasts the whole month of February climaxing at Independence Day on February 27th

Carnival of Guadeloupe — starting on March 5, 2019
The main parades take place in the capital, but you’ll experience carnival in every town and village

Carnival of Sint Maarten — starting on April 22, 2019
Well over a month of music and dance events including parades and contests for all

Bacchanal (Jamaica) — starting on April 25, 2019
Kicking off on February, the Carnival lasts for two months; although the main events happen during Easter week

Batabano in Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands) — starting on April 27, 2019
Plenty of events to choose among including: street parade, masquerade, Caribbean soca music concerts…

Saint John Carnival in Charlotte Amalie (US Virgin Islands) — starting on June 23, 2019
Calypso shows, street parades with mocko-jumbies, colourful costumes and fireworks to celebrate Carnival, Emancipation and Independence days together

Vincy Mas Carnival (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) — starting on July 8, 2019
Prize to the best dresses and a magnificent street parade with live bands to end the celebrations

Carnival of Saint Lucia — starting on July 12, 2019
Two-day festival moved to mid-July since 1999 but with music concerts and other events starting as early as May

Antigua Carnival in Saint John’s (Antigua and Barbuda) — starting on July 26, 2019
Not to be confused with Caribana (Barbuda’s carnival in June), here brass and steel bands inundate the streets of the capital to put the soundtrack to the colourful festivities

Saba Carnival — starting on July 29, 2019
Featuring great music, great food, colourful parades and super-friendly atmosphere

Statia Carnival (Sint Eustatius) — starting on July 29, 2019
Beauty and calypso contests among many other shows and activities

Anguilla Summer Festival Carnival — starting on August 5, 2019
Lasting all August, get ready to experience local culture at its best, including boat racing!

Antigua Carnival in Saint John’s (Antigua and Barbuda) — starting on July 26, 2019
Not to be confused with Caribana (Barbuda’s carnival in June), here brass and steel bands inundate the streets of the capital to put the soundtrack to the colourful festivities

Black and White’s Carnival in Pasto (Colombia) — starting on January 2, 2019
Declared UNESCO’s Human Heritage in 2009, this is one of the most elaborated celebrations of Carnival featuring a series of events that lead up to the great parade on the last day

Uruguayan Carnival in Montevideo (Uruguay) — starting on January 24, 2019
The dance parade is the main event where Candombe and other local music are the main theme for the thousands of people moving to the sound of the drums

Andino Carnival in Arica (Chile) — starting on February 15, 2019
A rhapsody of all the local dances from this part of the Andes performed in their folkloric costumes

Carnival of Rio (Brazil) — starting on March 1, 2019
Considered the biggest Carnival in the world, this is a true spectacle of colours and music that will keep you moving to the rhythm of Samba for days!

Barranquilla’s Carnival (Colombia) — starting on March 2, 2019
This is when the city gets busy with street dancers, musical and masquerade parades featuring all types of Colombian music; kicked off with The Battle of the Flowers. Also a UNESCO’s Human Heritage festival

Carnival of Oruro (Bolivia) — starting on February 23, 2019
Another UNESCO’s Human Heritage festivals dating back more than 2000 years and originally an indigenous celebration, now features a 3-nights and 3-days parade ending with a series of historical and mythological plays

La Ceiba Carnival (Honduras) — starting on Mayo 21, 2019
Carnival in honor of the city’s patron saint, where all-night party is preceded by a big parade

Quebec Winter Carnival (Canada) — starting on February 8, 2019
One of the biggest winter festivals in the world, it’s great to see the endearing festival mascot Bonhomme leading the parades. The whole city turns to the celebrations making it a great time to visit regardless of the cold temperatures

New Orleans Mardi Gras (USA) — starting on March 5, 2019
Jazz music parades, wild parting (the only city in the States, along with Las Vegas, where drinking in public is allowed) and some inadvertent nudity in exchange for the famous strings of colourful plastic beads

Carnival of Guinea Bissau — starting on March 2, 2019
A cultural extravaganza that explodes on the streets of the capital where local ethnic and Portuguese-influenced traditions are widely displayed

Cape Town Carnival (South Africa) — starting on March 16, 2019
A fairly young celebration here, the electrifying festivities of the season are quickly becoming more and more popular

Mardi Gras in Sydney (Australia) — starting on January 15, 2019
Fully embraced by the city’s LGTB community (the second largest in the world after San Francisco), this is now a mixture of Pride Day meets Carnival with a variety of events throughout the city
Panama’s Carnival — starting on March 2, 2019
The streets of Panama city become filled with parades, floats ,masks, costumes and confetti
Solo Batik Carnival in Solo City (Indonesia) — starting on July 13, 2019
Non-Lent-related festivities in the most pure Brazilian Carnival style with emphasis on the Indonesian motif of batik

So there you have it, plenty of destinations worldwide to celebrate Carnival, not just around Lent’s time but throughout the year 

Happy travels!

*photo of Guinea Bissau Carnival by A. Marchisella, courtesy of

One Response

  1. unuk

    Gracias por tu comentario. Inicialmente pensamos en incluir una foto para cada carnaval pero al final preferimos seleccionar las fotos que nos parecían más interesantes y destacarlas en la parte superior del artículo.
    Es difícil escoger uno entre tantos carnavales tan vistosos y coloridos… De forma ideal escogeríamos uno para cada continente/zona indicada y de este modo poder experimentar celebraciones culturalmente muy diferentes. Aunque ahora mismo alguno en el Caribe donde poder disfrutar del clima tropical no sería una mala idea tampoco! :)

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