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Carnivals in Europe this February

06 February, 2009 17:06  EasyExpat EasyExpat

It’s carnival season all across Europe. Here are some of the wildest and fun places to be this February.

Carnival, Binche, Belgium
22nd February – 24th February
This is Belgium's most famous carnival and attracts thousands of visitors annually. This colorful event has even made it to the UNESCO Heritage list. One to visit if you’re in the vicinity.

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Carnival, Barcelona, Spain
19th – 25th February
Barcelonians celebrate their carnival with an emphasis on gluttony. On Jueves Lardero - Fatty Thursday, a tortilla competition takes place, judged on taste, filling and presentation. Carnival weekends are known for their competitions for the much acclaimed pimiento de oro - golden pepper. On Saturday afternoon the celebrations come to a climax with the Gran Rua de Carnaval, a colossal parade of adorned carriages and carnival groups and a snowfall of streaming confetti.

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Carnival, Bailleul-Monts des Cats, France
20th – 23rd February
Visit for four days of processions, chaired by the 'Gargantua Giant' - one of 50 floats that wind their way through town. Known for its local brass bands, processions, confetti and parties that go on until late in the town's cafés and bars. The carnival was originally set up by the Philanthropic Company of Bailleul and a staged search still goes on during the festivities to find the needy folk of the city.

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Carnival, Bremen, Germany

13th February -14th February
If parades, masked concerts and parties are your idea of fun, Bremen is the place to be! Each year the theme changes, but the infectious sound of pounding drums always accompanies colourful and flamboyant celebrations.

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Carnival, Foiano, Italy
8th February – 1st March; Sun only
Dating back to 1539, the Foiano Carnival in Arezzo is the oldest carnival in the country. Neighborhoods compete with each other to build the most impressive and creative floats, which parade through the town on four Sundays in February/March.

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Carnival, Funchal, Portugal
21st – 24th February
Often referred to as one of the best street parties in Europe, the Madeira Carnival brings the streets of the capital Funchal to life with its colourful carnival and parades. The biggest parade takes place on the opening Saturday, which involves thousands of participants all dressed in outlandish costumes as they dance to the sounds of the samba bands that fill the streets. Partying goes on late into the night and events continue throughout the weekend before the final parade on Shrove Tuesday during which everybody dresses up - many as cheeky caricatures of famous people or local politicians.

Carnival, Venice, Italy
13th February – 24th February
The Venice Carnival is the largest and most important Venetian festival that attracts thousands of people from around the world each year. To keep with the tradition that everyone is equal, people at the carnival wear world renown masks on their faces. A must visit for those who want to experience a heady mixture of processions, masks, theatre, food and music.

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Carnival, Rijeka, Croatia
22nd February
This 100-year-old tradition attracts carnival groups, spectators and the media, as well as guests from around the country and abroad. Carnival customs include the making of "ugly masks", which scare away evil forces, calling the spring and celebrating the birth of new life. Concerts, exhibitions, parties, performances and other festivities fill the days that precede the major event - the International Carnival Parade. Hundreds of floats, thousands of masks and streets crowded with spectators are the result of a competitive spirit built on originality, inventiveness and wittiness.

Please note that there may be changes to the dates, events and line-ups at the festivals. For detailed information, check the official websites.

Sidd Lobo
Freelance copywriter based out of Munich


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