With Notting Hill Carnival just around the corner, we’ve been thinking about the other colourful parties you’ve got to look forward to. Here are some of the places you can get your sequins on and dance in the street…
The Themed One – Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival, Tenerife
When? 5th – 14th February 2016
This one is Europe’s biggest carnival, so it’s got sequins, feathers and fireworks – the whole shebang. It takes over Santa Cruz for around a week. There’s a different theme every year, and in 2014 it was cartoons. But that doesn’t stop the traditional finale involving the burial of a sardine – not a real one, mind – it’s made from papier mâché.
The Big One – Rio Carnival, Brazil
When? 5th – 10th February 2016
It goes without saying – Rio is a pretty big deal. The carnival, dubbed ‘the greatest show on earth’, draws in a crowd of around 5 million people with its extravagant parades. They’re so big that they now take place in a purpose-built Sambadrome, where the various samba schools compete against each other.
The Waterfight One – Oruro Carnival, Bolivia
When? 6th – 9th February 2016
Like every good festival, this one ends in a huge waterfight. And it’s not really any surprise when the huge parade lasts over 20 hours. It’s meant to tell the story of good triumphing over evil, so the water-filled ending is a way to ‘wash away the heat of the fire’. But, you probably don’t care about that – just prep your Super Soakers and fill up those water balloons.
The Snowy One – Winter Carnival, Canada
When? 29th January – 14th February 2016
If you feel the cold, then maybe give this carnival a miss. But the chilly temperatures and snow doesn’t stop the people of Quebec from filling the streets. The carnival’s main focus is winter sports – we’re talking dog-sled racing, snow bathing and ice sculpture contests. Sounds cool – geddit? But that’s not all – its centrepiece is a huge ice castle, which becomes the home of the snowman Bonhomme. It got weird.
The Fancy Dress One – Venice Carnival, Italy
When? 23th January – 9th February 2016
Things are a little bit more sedate – or should we say refined – at Venice Carnival. The whole city basically turns into a huge fancy dress party. Women parade around in skyscraper-high wigs and men don tights and suits of armour. The hottest ticket, though, is to the Grand Masquerade Ball, which takes place in a Venetian palace overlooking the Grand Canal. Speaking of the canal, it’s Venice – so the parade is actually a procession of gondolas, instead of the usual street floats.
The Foodie One – Goa Carnival, India
When? 6th – 9th February 2016
Imported by the Portuguese, Goa Carnival is 4 days’ worth of fireworks and floats. The chilled-out seaside resort turns into one big party as locals celebrate before lent, when the beef, pork and bottles of alcohol are stashed away for 40 days. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to fill up on as the carnival now includes a food festival, too. It’s free entry and you can browse stalls stocked with seafood, pork stew and biryani.
The Creepy One – Busójárás Carnival, Hungary
When? 4th – 9th February 2016
The main aim of this festival is to scare off winter, which might explain the frightening parade. The locals in Mohács dress up in suits of wool or fur and put on terrifying masks to parade through the city. If that hasn’t put you off – there’s also the more tempting tradition of eating doughnuts.
Which one would you pick?