Carnival in fact is a European
export, which has become extremely popular across the
water. ‘Carnevale’ is an Italian expression, which was
used during the 14th Century to describe ‘the
throwing off of meat’ prior to Lent. It was the city of
Venice, famous for it’s decadence and costumed parties,
which was the birthplace of the modern day Carnival.
Extravagance, over indulgence and
having fun was prerequisite for most Venetians and the
constraints of a newly formed religion were not going to
stop their capacity for having a good time.
Despite excommunication from the
Vatican the word about the Venetian’s flamboyant parties
and parades spread and today, nearly 700 years later
these parties are no less popular.
The loudest and brashest of all
carnival parades around the world it has to be said is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It takes a year to
prepare and organise and hotel rooms can be booked up,
sometimes up to two years in advance.
However in Portugal, Carnival is no
less popular and attracts thousands of tourists each
year, in search of the party atmosphere and a little
pre-spring warmth. Villages, towns and cities the length
and breadth of Portugal, organise parties and parades on
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), which is a national holiday.
So grab your beads and get ready to
party Portuguese style for it's Carnival time.