In Portugal, the carnival is the biggest festival of the year and draws people form around the world. It usually happens in February, right before lent starts. It signals the end of winter and also ushers in the religious period of giving up meat. Carnival is usually not religious in nature and therefore it continues well past Ash Wednesday when religious affiliated carnivals end. In fact, the carnival in Portugal usually last almost three weeks. It is a non-stop party where the focus is on fun and celebration.
Portugal Carnival History
The Portugal Carnival goes back hundreds of years. It has roots in the catholic religion. In the beginning, carnival originated in Italy when people would put on costumes and celebrate the day before lent. They would have large feasts where they would eat up all the meats since meat was forbidden during lent. Soon the carnival became quite popular and began spreading to surrounding areas in Spain and France and other places where the Catholic religion was prominent. Carnival made its way to America when European settlers brought it over. Today in Portugal the carnival is the top event. The city of Lisbon fills up with people, both locals and visitors, to celebrate. The city truly comes to life with celebrations everywhere and a lot of fun to be had.
Carnival is all about music, dancing and, of course, the costumes. The elaborate costumes of carnival are something to behold. Many people spend months preparing their costumes for the celebration. From feathers to metal to sequins, you will see it all. The native people take carnival very seriously. They will be meticulous in preparing their costumes and they are focused on ensuring every detail is perfected. Carnival may be all about fun, but the preparation is hard work.
Preparation starts long before February. The first thing they do is come up with a theme. They then begin working on costume ideas. It is all about creativity and creating a very show-like experience. Awards are given for the best costumes and quite coveted. A lot of work goes into creating the elaborate show that lasts throughout the carnival. There is never a dull moment thanks to all those who work so hard to prepare the festivities.
The Portugal Carnival is a show. For visitors it is something that words simply can not describe. You have to experience it for yourself. The costumes, the music, the people, the food – it all is amazing and will have you awe struck. You can grab plenty of food along the street where vendors eagerly cook up scrumptious menus. You can stand and watch the various parades with the beautiful floats and costumed participants. There are parties all over and everyone is happy, lively and welcoming. There is no doubt that during the carnival is one of the best times to visit Portugal because it is exciting and you really get to meet and mingle with the people.
Even if you have attended the carnival celebration elsewhere, you simply must experience the Portugal Carnival. Every celebration is unique. Each with its own cultural influences. In Portugal you will experience the cities and the people in a way that you can not do any other time of the year. It is an experience like no other. If you want to have fun and to let loose on vacation then book a trip to Portugal for the carnival.