February is carnival time

By | Category: Travel destinations

Viennese mask

Europe may be having a cold snap that has seen rivers freeze in Amsterdam, Hamburg and elsewhere but in many places its carnival time.
Today in Venice, despite some canals freezing, their carnival begins, one of the colourful and historic in the world. Running for eleven days, it is the colourful costumes and masks that add to its glamour and appeal. How long has it be going? It has been revived but locals wore masks as long as 600 years ago. It’s popularity doesn’t diminish and over the eleven days millions are expected to visit the city for the fun.
Like Venice, the Cadiz carnival in Spain also lasts eleven days but starts in five days’ time. Copied from Venice recently – well about 400 years ago – and outrageously designed and colourful costumes have made Cadiz the most important Spanish carnival. Maybe more musical and boisterous than Venice it easily assimilates visitors who just want to join in the fun.
Then there’s Rio. The opening ceremony begins next Friday when the Carnival King (Momo) is crowned by the city mayor. More boisterous, outgoing and vibrant than Venice or Cadiz, the carnival in Rio is picked up by TV and other media worldwide for the parades and the fun that helps us forget the cold of winter.
And there’s the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Although it occurs on February 21st, events have already begun because the name relates to just that one event. The celebrations though, began on the fourth and there is something on every day until the grand finale.
Like all wildly popular events booking flights and accommodation needs to be done in advance to be sure of getting the best. But New Orleans says there is still accommodation there and in Venice, people sometimes stay miles out and come in just for a day.
And at the moment a little frivolity and fun will go a long way to brighten these dreary days.

UPDATE: Benidorm’s Carnival begins on 18 February. Click here for Irena’s story from Benidorm all year round about it

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