02 March 2020

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Carnivals in Portugal!!

The origins for the word Carnaval, come from the Latin “Carnem Levare” or “Carnis Levale” that means “abstinence of meat”. Carnival was celebrated during the period before Easter Time or Lent, when the Catholics would not eat meat!

It´s believed that this big festivity celebrated along Europe (that were also taken to South America and even North America /Mardis-Gras in New Orleans), descend from Greek festivities around the year 520 b. C.  People celebrated to honor Dionysius the God of Wine, and also celebrated the arrival of Spring and fertility!

The Romans had the festivities honoring the God Saturn! During this festivities, the slaves took the place of their masters, dressed like them, and satirized their behavior, and were even served by them at the table. The difference between masters and slaves disappeared, and together they drinked, eat and played games! Both in Greece and Rome, it was a time to celebrate and break all the rules! Big parades were made honoring the gods and people were disguised in costumes!

Portugal is also a country were Carnival is celebrated! In cities from North to South we take this celebration very seriously!

All this cities celebrate Carnival with big parades that normally take place on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon with a lot of music, mainly Samba!

Porto is not a Carnival city, but during Carnival weekend if you decide to go out at night, many people will be in their Carnival costumes in Bars and Discos along the city night district! A lot of private parties are also organized!

From the village of Podence in the North were men are disguised with colorful costumes that we call “Caretos”, to the Algarve (Loulé) and Madeira Island, Carnival is a time to party and break all boundaries!

Cities of Carnival:

  • Bragança – Podence (the “Caretos take the city coming form the rural world around!It´s one of the oldest Carnivals in the Iberian Península)
  • Ovar – One of the biggest of Portugal with big parades and parties that are celebrated around 30 days, every day!
  • Estarreja
  • Mealhada
  • Sines
  • Sesimbra
  • Torres Vedras – Here you can see the “Matrafonas”: men will be on the streets drinking and partying but dressed like ladies!
  • Loulé – Algarve

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