Developed in the Middle Ages, the carnival is today a traditional festival all over the world. From Rio de Janeiro to Notting Hills, the Carnival is still a reason to have fun with our relatives.
To help you figure out which one to choose, we have made our selection of the most beautiful carnivals in the world!
The Quebec Winter Carnival
7 – 16 February
This year, the Quebec Carnival will celebrate its 66th anniversary. Despite its creation in 1894, this event is officially relaunched in 1954. Come and meet the famous mascot Bonhomme in the middle of his ice palace, during the night parades on Grand Allée! If he is not there, go to the traditional snow bath, which can reach -20 degrees!
Toboggans, a giant football game, shows, snow sculptures, ice canoe races, sleigh rides, and ice skating will also be part of the event!
Quebec City’s carnival is one of the earliest in the year. It begins on February 7th and ends 9 days later, on February 16th. This gives you time to enjoy several carnivals in the same year!
The Venice Carnival
8 – 25 February
Photo by Marc Vandecasteele on Unsplash
The Venice Carnival is a traditional celebration of the Italian aristocracy that developed in the Middle Ages.
The essence of this carnival is to abolish social codes, allowing the poor to become rich and the rich to become poor. It also allows people who knew each other to avoid greeting each other.
The festivities begin 10 days before Ash Wednesday and continue until Mardi Gras.
The day of the beginning of the festivities is marked by the “flight of the angel”. The previous year, a young girl is designated -called the “Mary”- to launch herself from the top of the campanile to join their lover on the Piazzetta.
The “Feast of the Marys” takes place on the first Saturday of Carnival when the 12 Marys -the 12 most beautiful women in Venice – parade from San Pietro Castello to Piazza San Marco accompanied by their cortege in traditional costume. It is at the end of this feast that the most beautiful of the Marys is elected, the one who will make the “flight of the angel” the following year.
The Binche Carnival
11 – 13 February
This carnival is registered at the UNESCO World Heritage since 2003. It is known for its traditional costume of “Gilles”, a masked character who first appeared in 1795. Dressed in a red and yellow striped suit as well as a white hat made of ostrich feathers, this Gilles’ Parade is composed on one side of a brass band, and dancing characters distributing oranges to the spectators on the other side. Balls, banquets, and fireworks are also part of the event’s program!
The Binche Carnival is composed of 2 parts; the carnival itself which begins 49 days before Easter, and the pre-carnival called “the time of the Soumonces” taking place 6 Sundays before the Mardi Gras.
The Nice Carnival
15 – 29 February
Photo by Ben Lescure on Pixabay
The Nice Carnival is the biggest in France. Taking place on the Place Masséna for centuries and more recently on the Promenade des Anglais, hundreds of allegorical chariots parade since the Middle Ages. Big heads chariots, flower chariots -which is an honor for local producers- or animation chariots, all parade for days to satisfy its spectators.
Every year, the carnival has a new theme, under the name of “king”. 1994 was the King of Art, the King of Cinema was in 2019, and this year will be under the King of Fashion.
More than 1000 musicians and dancers coming from all around the world take part in the event. The Nice Carnival ends with the “Incineration of the King”, a great fireworks display.
the festivities have begun on February 15th and will end at the end of the month, on February 29th!
The Rio Carnival
21 – 26 February
The most famous carnival in the world is also the biggest in the world, the Rio Carnival. This event also called “the world’s biggest party” became the one we know in 1723. Of course, the Rio Carnival is based on the parades of the city’s samba schools. The best 22 Samba schools parade during the 4 days of the Carnival and in the end, the best Samba school is elected!
Each school also has its own Queen who motivates the musicians at the front of the parade. Every queen is dressed in feathers and dance to the rhythm of the music. At the end of this event, the “Queen of the Carnival” is also elected.
Not to be forgotten is Rio‘s Street Carnival where music, street parades, and bands are an integral part of the event!
The New-Orleans Mardi-Gras
Photo by skeeze on Pixabay
Celebrated since the middle of the 18th century, the New Orleans Carnival is today considered as the 2nd largest carnival in the world after Rio. Many clubs called “Krewes” organize most of the carnival parades. Float riders throw mostly beads, strings and sometimes colorful lingerie into the crowd lead by Jazz music played by parades.
Extravagant costumes colored in purple, green, gold, adorned with the beads taken from the floats are in the spotlight during the New Orleans Carnival.
The Notting Hill Carnival
30 – 31 August
Photo by Kelly Robinson on Unsplash
The Notting Hills Carnival is one of the most recent carnivals. Created in 1966, contrarily to the majority of the others, this carnival is not based on Mardi Gras but takes place at the end of August, this year on August 30 and 31, 2020. This event inspired by the many carnivals around the world is based on Caribbean culture and gathers every year nearly 2.5 million people.
Several musical styles are in the spotlight, Soca music, Calypso music, Steelpan music or the Jamaican Dancehall.
If you are looking for something to do at the end of the summer, the Notting Hills Carnival is waiting for you!