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7 Carnival Celebrations Around the World

by AIFS Abroad

Carnival is one of the most exciting, vibrant festivals and celebrations around the world. It’s a time of joy, excitement, and letting go of inhibitions. From Brazil to Italy, people come together to celebrate this colorful festival in their unique way.  

Here are some of the most popular Carnival celebrations worldwide: 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

When it comes to Carnival celebrations, Rio de Janeiro is a global icon. The festival in Brazil’s capital city is one of the biggest and most extravagant in the world. It takes place over four days, with millions of people flocking to the streets to dance, sing, and have fun. The highlight of the festival is the Samba Parade, where different Samba schools compete against each other, showcasing their colorful costumes, music, and dance moves. 

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands) 

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital city of the Canary Island’s largest island, Carnival is a month-long celebration filled with daily parades and events. The highlight of the festival is the election of the Carnival Queen, where contestants wear stunning and elaborate costumes and perform on a stage. The competition is fierce, and the show is one of the festival’s most popular events.  

And for the grand finale, the celebration ends with ceremoniously burning and burying a gigantic papier-mâché sardine puppet. This unique tradition is intended to symbolize the end of one season and the birth of a new season. 

Cádiz, Spain 

In Cádiz, you can find the oldest Carnival celebration on mainland Spain. This city is an expert at weaving extravagant costumes, parades and street performances with important social commentary. Singing groups, known as chirigotas, write and perform satirical lyrics referencing politics and pop culture. 

Venice, Italy 

Carnival — or Carnevale in Italian — in Venice is one of the most famous and elegant celebrations in the world. Known for its elaborate masks, costumes, and spectacular boat parades, this 2-week festival celebrates the end of winter in a big way. 

Cultural Adventures in Italy: Fiorentina, Carnevale, and More! | AIFS Study Abroad
AIFS Abroad students at Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

Viareggio, Italy 

The Viareggio Carnevale attracts visitors from all over the world who come to witness the grandeur of the celebration. During the Carnival parades, this Tuscan city comes alive with politically charged and satirical floats promenading down the streets. 

New Orleans, USA 

Carnival in New Orleans, Louisiana, is an iconic event that has been celebrated since the early 18th century. The festival, also known as Mardi Gras, is a time for revelry, indulgence, and celebration. During the two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras Day (aka “Fat Tuesday”, the day before the start of Lent), the city is bursting with music, parades and colorful costumes. The streets of New Orleans are filled with people dressed in the official colors of Mardi Gras – purple, green and gold. The festival is also famous for featuring fantastic foods like king cake and gumbo.  

Nice, France 

Nice is home to one of the world’s biggest Carnival celebrations. The 2-week festival attracts over a million visitors to the French Riviera every year. The Battle of the Flowers is a major highlight of the event. Costumed performers ride floats covered in locally grown flowers and toss the blossoms to the onlookers lining the streets.

Want to check out celebrations like these around the world?  

When you study or intern abroad, you can experience different cultures, make new friends and create unforgettable memories. Participating in events like Carnival allows you to immerse yourself in local traditions and learn about their history and customs. So, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, consider going abroad and taking part in vibrant celebrations like Carnival around the globe. 

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