Carnival festivals around the world: Join the parades and parties in 2020


Drum queen Gracyanne Barbosa from the Uniao da Ilha samba school performs during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Forrest Brown, CNN

(CNN) — Ash Wednesday is fast approaching (Wednesday, February 26). So you know what that means.

It’s Carnival time around the world as people, most particularly folks in areas with strong Roman Catholic traditions, get their party on before the more solemn, introspective days of Lent commence.

A few destinations are practically synonymous with Carnival festivals — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leads the list with celebrations dating back to the 1700s.

The wild times at Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans, Louisiana, are the stuff of legends (and hangovers).

Venice, Italy, draws huge crowds annually with its fancy balls, masked celebrants and parade boats plying the canals — but this year the festival was forced to close early due to the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.

However, take a look at the gallery above, and you’ll learn Carnival isn’t limited to just a few places. You can travel to Switzerland, Uruguay and the Canary Islands, among others, to find colorful Carnival parades and festivals.

Just as parties tend to get chaotic at times, there’s no global standard for when Carnival begins.

In Cologne, Germany, they get a big jump on things with their annual season technically starting back way on November 11.

But around the world, it’s the week before Ash Wednesday when the merrymaking, overindulgence of food and drink and pursuit of earthly delights reach a fever pitch.


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