Special Report

The Most Popular Carnivals in the World

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16. Murga Carnival
> Location: Uruguay
> Dates: January 25 – early March, 2019

Known as the longest carnival in the world, Uruguay’s carnival spans 40 days in the capital city of Montevideo. The cultural flavor of this carnival has its roots in Afro-Uruguayan candombe drum music, a tradition dating back to slave celebrations, blended with traditional Uruguayan music and European theatre. The unique highlight of Uruguay’s carnival is the murga, a form of musical theatre used as political and cultural satire. Clubs and theatres all over the city host murga troupes, who put on original 45-minute performances, with the best performers receiving awards.

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17. Berlin Carnival of Cultures
> Location: Germany
> Dates: June 7 – June 10, 2019

A relatively new festival, Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures was established in 1996 to celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions of the people of Berlin. It features various cuisines and cultural music, dance shows, street performers and hundreds of vendors. The celebrations last four days and culminate in a colorful street parade on Pentecost Sunday where thousands of people perform and half a million line the streets to watch.

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18. Oruro Carnival
> Location: Bolivia
> Dates: March 1- 5, 2019

This Bolivian carnival in the mining town of Oruro is attended by 400,000 people each year and has received UNESCO recognition as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage. It features music, crafts, and dozens of groups of folk dancers who perform in extravagant costumes. The main dance that draws visitors from around the world is the Dance of the Devils, or Diablada, which is performed by hundreds of people in devil costumes, lead by Tio Supay, a local deity who emerges from the underworld for the festival.

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19. Viareggio Carnival
> Location: Italy
> Dates: February 9 – March 5, 2019

For five weekends during Lent, Viareggio is home to the largest folk festival in Italy with 600,000 attendants each year. Since its inception in 1873, the festival has become known for its focus on the satirization of Italian and world issues. Satire comes in the form of the astounding themed floats that are built every year using traditional techniques. They can be up to 60 feet high and take over six months to build.

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20. Copenhagen Carnival
> Location: Denmark
> Dates: July 6 – July 15, 2019

Each year, up to 200,000 people attend Copenhagen’s carnival, which in the last few years has become the largest Danish festival for world music, with over 100 bands, 2,000 parade dancers, and a musical spread that ranges from samba to electronica. The three-day festival celebrating Pentecost features a spectacular parade through Copenhagen’s Old Town to the Christiansborg Palace, and even a well-attended children’s parade.

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