Carnival is a Catholic festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent.
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Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus.
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Traditionally, a Carnival feast was the last opportunity for common people to eat well, as there was typically a food shortage at the end of the winter as stores ran out.
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The whole Carnival event was set before the fasting, to set a clear division between celebrations and penitence.
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Carnival dispatched missionaries to sanctify any excesses in popular Carnival customs.
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Many local Carnival customs are claimed to derive from local pre-Christian rituals, such as elaborate rites involving masked figures in the Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht.
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From Italy, Carnival traditions spread to Spain, Portugal, and France, and from France to New France in North America.
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For example, when the Caribbean Carnival was established as a result of French settlers, even the slaves had their version of the masquerade, where they would reverse roles to mock those of higher social status.
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Carnival in Brazil is a major part of Brazilian culture .
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Salvador has large Carnival celebrations, including the Axe, a typical Bahia music.
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Carnival is an important cultural event in the Dutch Caribbean.
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Carnival has been celebrated in Cuba since the 18th century.
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Carnival celebrations have been in decline throughout Cuba since then.
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Carnival was introduced by the Spaniards and incorporated elements from European cultures.
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Carnival'storians tell of a bishop in 1867 who threatened excommunication for the sin of playing Carnival games.
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Carnival Week is especially popular in the sleepy town of Las Tablas.
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Panamanian Carnival is popular because of the concerts featuring popular artists in the most visited areas.
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Carnival combines costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying .
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In New York City, a Caribbean Carnival known as the West Indian Day Parade is held in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Labor Day.
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The main attractions of Uruguayan Carnival include two colorful parades called Desfile de Carnaval and Desfile de Llamadas .
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Traditionally formed by men and now starting to be open to women, the different Carnival groups perform a kind of popular opera at the tablados, singing and dancing songs that generally relate to the social and political situation.
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In India, Carnival is celebrated only in the state of Goa and was originally a local Roman Catholic tradition known as Intruz which means "swindler" in Konkani while Entrudo is the appropriate word in Portuguese for "Carnival".
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The commercial Carnival festivities occur during the three days and nights preceding Ash Wednesday.
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The Korca Carnival took a big hit after the creation of cultural societies such as the "Korca Youth".
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Carnival celebrations were discontinued after 1960, to resume in other social conditions after 1990.
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Since this year and until 2008, the Korca Carnival group has been represented at a number of international festivals organized in various European countries.
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The third and largest takes place on the last day of Carnival and involves hundreds of people walking in costume along the town's longest avenue.
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The Carnival season includes Fastelavens søndag and fastelavensris with decorated branches.
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The most active Carnival week begins on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, with parades during the weekend, and finishes the night before Ash Wednesday, with the main festivities occurring around Rosenmontag .
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The famous Patras Carnival is a three-day spectacle replete with concerts, theatre performances, parading troupes, an elaborate treasure hunt game, three major parades, parallel celebrations specifically for children, and many masquerade balls including the famous Bourboulia ball in which women wear special robe-like costumes called a to hide their identy.
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In 2001, the town built a new "Carnival citadel" dedicated to Carnival preparations and entertainment.
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In 2005, the Nadur Carnival hosted the largest-ever gathering of international Carnival organizers for the FECC's global summit.
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Carnival food includes perlini and the prinjolata, which is a towering assembly of sponge cake, biscuits, almonds, and citrus fruits, topped with cream and pine nuts.
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The Strumica Carnival opens on a Saturday night at a masked ball where the Prince and Princess are chosen; the main Carnival night is on Tuesday, when masked participants compete in various subjects.
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Polish Carnival season includes Fat Thursday, when paczki are eaten, and Sledzik or Herring Day.
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Traditional way to celebrate Carnival is the kulig, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered countryside.
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In modern times, Carnival is increasingly seen as an excuse for intensive partying and has become more commercialized, with stores offering Carnival-season sales.
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The "Dances de Carnival" are allegorical and comedic tales acted out in the streets.
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Arguably, Brazil's Carnival could be traced to the period of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries when their caravels passed regularly through Madeira, a territory that emphatically celebrated Carnival.
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In Estarreja, in the Central region of Portugal, the town's first references to Carnival were in the 14th century, with "Flower Battles", richly decorated floats that paraded through the streets.
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The Loures Carnival celebrates the country's folk traditions, including the enterro do bacalhau or burial of the cod, which marks the end of Carnival and the festivities.
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Cerknica Carnival is heralded by a figure called "Poganjic" carrying a whip.
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The feeling of this Carnival is the sharp criticism, the funny play on words and the imagination in the costumes, more than the glamorous dressings.
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The festivities end on Ash Wednesday with elaborate funeral rituals marking the death of King Carnival, who is typically burned on a pyre in what is called the "burial of the sardine", or, in Vilanova, as l'enterro.
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The Carnival is known for a legend that explains how a donkey was hung at the tower bell - because the animal wanted to eat grass that grew on the top of the tower.
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Carnival groups stand out for their clothes full of elegance, showing brilliant examples of fabric crafts, at the Saturday and Sunday parades.
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One of the most important Spanish Carnival Festivals is celebrated in Vinaros, a small town situated in the northern part of the province of Castellon, Valencian Community.
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