We have all seen on some occasion or have celebrated, especially in our childhoods, the Carnival party, but do you know where its name comes from? Do you know the whole story behind the Carnival? In About history we tell you everything you need.
This is how the word carnival is derived from the Latin carnis (meat) and levare (“go away”), because immediately after the festival comes Lent, 40 days of sacrifice. The festival ends on Mardi Gras (also known as Mardi Gras in Latin or Mardi Gras in some countries) one day before the official start of Lent, known as Ash Wednesday.
Where did the carnival come from? Well, this is a question without an exact answer. The origin of the festival is controversial. Today, carnival is first and foremost a Christian event that is celebrated mainly in countries with a large Christian population.
But how did the festival start? The pagan roots of the holiday go back long before the advent of Christianity, as it was a prominent celebration in the calendars of many pagan cultures. Where was the festival invented? The origin of the world’s largest carnival has been speculated to be around 5,000 years old, and other Egyptians have speculated that it was Greek. In ancient Egypt and Greece, festivals were celebrated around the cycles of nature and the universe.
Why is the festival held? In ancient times, long before the advent of Christianity, what we now call pagan were raucous celebrations centered around the days of winter and spring, and the vernal equinox. These wild celebrations are things that people do not want to give up, even if they become Christians.
Many pagans held huge celebrations around the vernal equinox. The festivals are always held at the end of winter to celebrate the arrival of spring and the renewal of fertility. Carnival is primarily seen as a spiritual journey from darkness to light, from winter to summer.
In Europe, pagans believed that evil spirits ruled the world during the winter and had to be expelled in the summer to return. Many pagans also celebrated the end of a bountiful harvest, in preparation for winter and as a way of thanking the spirits.
In ancient Greece, Dionysia was a great spring festival celebrated in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine. The Romans adopted this tradition and honored the god of wine Saturnalia. These shows are for banquets and liquor parties.
The Roman Empire adopted the most famous pagan festivals and practices. With the rise of the Roman Empire, these festivals spread throughout the empire with the creation of new names. For example, the celebration of the winter solstice in December is called the Saturnalia and Brumalia festival.
The pre-spring festivals became the Spring Festival of Ishtar in Babylon or Osiris in Egypt, heralding a rebirth. Between these two, another party known as “Valentine” Lupercalia was held.
The Vatican then established Lent before Easter by imposing its own interpretation of Christ’s 40-day fast by denying the pleasures of the flesh and the earth during the 40 days before Easter. They organized pagan festivals before Lent.
Carnival according to the Christian calendar includes the entire community and is a great celebration in which much food and drink is taken, as well as a time for the gratification of sexual desires, all of which are said to die out during the next. fasting period.
During Lent there are no parties or celebrations and people refrain from consuming meat, dairy, fats and sugars. Most of these foods are not available during this period due to winter shortages. Lent is meant to remember Jesus, but it is also a time to reflect on Christian values. For those who convert to Christianity, it is time to prepare for baptism at Easter.
At this point, we are sure that you want to know the countries where Carnival is most celebrated or where Carnival is most important for its inhabitants.
- Carnival in Spain: In Spain we have a great carnival tradition and the one in Cádiz stands out, which is quite special with its chirigotas and its very particular events, and the one in Tenerife, on the Canary Island a carnival is celebrated in style, similar to that of Brazil.
- Carnival in France: in France we can find one of the least known and at the same time the largest and most important, such as the one held in Nice, one of the main cities of the Côte d’Azur.
- Carnival in Italy: In Italy we have one of the most traditional and oldest carnivals in the world, more specifically in Venice, where we can see classic parades with masquerades or masks more related to classical theater.
- Carnival in Brazil: And if we talk about Carnivals, we cannot ignore the best known in the world, that of Rio de Janeiro, one of the greatest spectacles of colors and dances, where all tourists who want to have a great time are well received.