Cities around the world come alive during winter with colorful and distinctive carnival events. More than 50 nations around the world celebrate Carnival, and each has its own special customs and festivities. Celebrations can last more than a month and are often marked by parades, vibrant costumes, live music and joyful dancing.
Although this annual event is highly regarded around the world, some places have absolutely massive celebrations. Here are our picks for the world’s top carnival celebrations:
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival celebrations are undoubtedly the most famous in the entire world. Rio’s festivities are an impressive sight and regularly attract over 2 million visitors to the well-known seaside city. The 2023 festival will take place between February 17 and 25 at various locations across the city. The program will include music and samba dancers, the famous samba parade and epic parties.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans
The giant celebrations and parades that make up the distinctive festival make New Orleans famous around the world. In the two weeks leading up to (fat) Tuesday, February 21, 2023, when Mardi Gras officially begins, the city will be full of festivities.
It’s no wonder that a million people visit New Orleans every year, considering that there are around 80 parades in the Big Easy. The festival is famous for its parades, where spectators are showered with beads and coins from magnificent floats surrounded by magnificent brass bands.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, Trinidad
If Trinidad is not enjoying Carnival, then they are preparing for it. The event, which takes place every year between February 15 and February 22, is a significant part of the culture of this southern Caribbean island.
Carnival in Binche, Belgium
The event, which has been held since the 14th century, will take place in 2023 from February 19-21.
The celebration ends with a parade of men dressed as Gilles, French musicians from Burgundy in the 1400s. The Gilles are dressed in shades of red, yellow and black and wear wax face masks, large feathered hats and wooden shoes. They parade through the streets beating drums and throwing oranges at spectators before closing the festival with a fireworks display.
Carnival in Venice, Italy
Venice’s famous Carnival celebration, which has been held since at least 1296, will take place from February 4 to 21, 2023. A boat parade and light festival takes place every year on the Rio di Cannaregio canal. The 10-day festival includes a series of masquerade parties where guests wear historical costumes and elaborate masks.
Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, hosts the Santa Cruz Carnival, which attracts 200,000 spectators. The 2023 commemoration will feature activities with the theme “New York – The City That Never Sleeps” from January 20 to February 26.
Carnival in Viareggio, Italy
The Viareggio Carnival will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023. From February 4th to February 25th, there will be six massive parades of papier-mâché floats. The giant tiles are famous for their humorous references to Italian and global events and take more than six months to build. The Viareggio Carnival is so unique and popular that it is televised nationally every year.