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See also Carnival (cruise line)
A carnival parade is a public celebration, combining some elements of a circus and public street party, generally during the carnival season.

The Carnival Season refers to a specific holiday period covering the two weeks before the traditional Christian fast of Lent. Most commonly the season began on Septuagesima Sunday, the third from the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, but in some places it started as early as Twelveth night, continuing until Lent. This period of celebration and partying had its origin in the need to use up all remaining meat and animal products such as eggs and butter before the fasting season. The celebration of Carnival ends on "Mardi Gras" (French for "Fat Tuesday", meaning Shrove Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, when the rigours of Lent's 40 days of fasting and sacrifice begin. It sometimes lasts until Piñata Weekend, the first Saturday and Sunday of Lent.

Places especially noted for elaborate Carnival celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife, and Olinda in Brazil, Venice in Italy, Nice in France, New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama in the USA, Trinidad in the West Indies, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Cádiz in Spain. In Germany Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz and Munich are famous for their Carnival celebrations, parades and costumed balls which, particularly in southern Germany, are called Fasching. German Carnival parades are held on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), the day before Shrove Tuesday.

Carnival is also celebrated in the southern Catholic provinces of the Netherlands Noord-Brabant and Limburg as well as in neighbouring Belgium.

When Lent ends, the Saturday following Holy Week is celebrated in a festival in Murcia, Spain. Called the Sardine's Funeral Parade it marks the end of the period when it is mandatory to eat fish and vegetables only.

In England Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day, but apart from the serving of pancakes and occasional pancake races, and football matches, little else of Carnival survived the Reformation. Caribbean influence has led to the establishment of several "West Indian" carnivals, but these are not held in Carnival season. The leading festivities are Notting Hill Carnival in August (reputedly the world's largest), and Bridgwater in November.

In Poland the traditional way of celebrating the Carnival is kulig, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered countryside. The Polish Carnival Season includes the Fat Thursday - a day for eating pączki; - and Śledziówka (Shrove Tuesday), or Herring Day (herring is a traditional Polish appetizer for drinking vodka).

It is said that this festival came from Saturnalia, Saturn's festival, and Lupercalia.[1] In the later Roman period, these festivals were characterized by wanton raillery and unbridled freedom, and were in a manner a temporary subversion of civil order. Historians think that this spirit was transmitted to the Carnival.

Anciently, the carnival was held to begin on 6th January and last till midnight of Shrove Tuesday. There is little doubt that this period of licence represents a compromise which the church always inclined to make with the pagan festivals and that the carnival really represents the Roman Saturnalia. Rome has ever been the headquarters of carnival, and though some popes, notably Clement IX. and XI. and Benedict XIII., made efforts to stem the tide of Bacchanalian revelry, many of the popes were great patrons and promoters of carnival keeping.

See also Mardi Gras, List of festivals, Fair, New Orleans Mardi Gras, Brazilian Carnival, Carnival in Rijeka

Fun fairs

A temporary (often annual) amusement park with mobile rides etc. is called a fun fair (also written funfair) or carnival.


See also Circus (performing art).