Special Report

The Most Popular Carnivals in the World

Source: Andy Weisner / Wikimedia Commons

21. Goa Intruz
> Location: India
> Dates: March 2 – 5, 2019

This four-day festival is a blend of Shigmo (a spring Hindu festival) and Christian Lent celebrations, but has come to be celebrated by all Goans regardless of their caste or religion. In an area known for its unique folk music, the festival highlights folk dances and songs performed by members of farming and fishing communities. A recurring character at the celebration is King Momo, who gives everyone permission to eat, drink, and be merry. The festival ends with people throwing handfuls of colored powder onto each other.

Source: peeterv / Getty Images

22. Jamaica Bacchanal Carnival
> Location: Jamaica
> Dates: March 8 – April 28, 2019

Spanning eight weeks, Jamaica’s carnival celebration called Bacchanal attracts tens of thousands attendants. Street parades and performances all over the island feature a diverse spread of music from samba to soca to modern dancehall, and of course dancers in elaborately decorated attire. Volunteers and designers spend months putting together the costumes, which have their roots in the African Diaspora, when slaves would wear masks or feather headdresses and paint their faces.

Source: ksajler / Flickr

23. Rijeka Carnival
> Location: Croatia
> Dates: January 17 – March 6, 2019

Croatia’s carnival celebration in Rijeka spans over a month, featuring a Queen’s pageant and a children’s parade and the spectacular International Carnival Parade. The largest carnival in Croatia, it attracts up to 100,000 attendants a year and features over 100 bands, colorful costumes, masquerade balls, and zvoncari, men who wear animal skins and dance through the crowd ringing bells to ward off evil spirits.

Source: marcduf / Getty Images

24. Quebec Winter Carnival
> Location: Canada
> Dates: February 8 – 17, 2019

Quebec City’s pre-Lent carnival first happened in 1894 and since then has grown to be one of the biggest winter festivals in the world, with over 1 million attendants in 2006. Winter activities rule the celebration and include dog sled rides, ice slides, an icy canoe race across the Saint Lawrence River, a snow bath, and even an ice palace that houses Bonhomme, the carnival’s snowman mascot. Other very Canadian carnival events are the axe-throwing contest and mechanical moose rides.

Source: Christian Pirkl / Wikimedia Commons

25. Fiesta del Fuego
> Location: Cuba
> Dates: July 3 – July 9, 2019

Santiago, Cuba, hosts this annual Fire Festival which began in 1981 as a way to pay tribute to the diversity of religions and cultures in the Caribbean. Every year a different country is selected and honored at the festival. Involving over two thousand artists from over a dozen countries, this celebration features dance, magic, religious ceremonies, theatre, and music. The finale and most dazzling event of the festival is the Fire Parade on the last evening, which culminates in the burning of a devil effigy to the cascade of drums.

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