Whenever you hear about “Carnival” you might dream up images of Rio de Janeiro or spooky masks in Venice. But have you ever wondered, where does this celebration come from?
Carnival is traditionally held in countries with a large Catholic population and occurs immediately before Lent, which is exactly 46 days before Easter, and the 'Mardi Gras' takes place this year on February 28th 2017.
Lent was traditionally marked by fasting and local people were restrained from eating meat, dairy, fats and sugar. In the days before Lent, many towns and cities would hold a huge party to dispose of all the excess rich food and drink.
British holidaymakers wanting to experience Carnival before Lent will have a surreal and magical time. It’s a marvellous celebration wherever you go, but like all proper holidays, it helps to do some pre-planning.
Here’s our top tips for a stress-free and enjoyable carnival season:
Carnivals are enormously popular and flights to major destinations (Rio, Venice, Cologne, New Orleans) get booked up fast. If you’re going to Rio, then make sure you undergo vaccinations, such as Diptheria, Heptatitis A, and Tetanus shots. If you’re heading for a European-based carnival, it’s always wise to bring your EHIC card.
Like all busy tourist areas, security can be an issue. Be careful using your iPhone in large crowds and leave expensive jewellery at your hotel. Also, try not to carry all your holiday money and documents with you. Leave some funds behind at the hotel - just in case anything happens.
When you’re out enjoying the parades, wear bags on your front and if you’re feeling especially cautious, keep some emergency funds where pickpockets can’t get them - like you bra!
Research your trip
It’s always good to do your homework before you fly out. Did you know that banks in Rio close during Carnival, and that cash machines regularly run out? If you’re going to Brazil, then you will need to make sure you have enough cash to cover your trip.
Going local is always the best way to enjoy an overseas holiday. Don’t be shying asking locals where the best restaurants are and what to eat. Talking to locals will help you make make the most of your Carnival holiday.
Carnival is no place to be a wallflower. It’s a gala social occasion and you’ll want to take part once you’re there. Maybe you can dress up or learn the local language to fit in better? Either way, make sure you let your hair down and enjoy this exciting event.
If you’re planning a Carnival holiday, have concerns about a trip you’ve already booked, or need help while you’re away, JustAnswer is here for you.