THE ORIGINAL FESTIVAL TOUR
I’ve been very blessed in my life to be able to travel, and I’ve seen many parts of the world. Many people haven’t been able to travel extensively and are trying to figure out where to go first.
It’s a big world, so planning can be intimidating and hard. So instead of just highlighting places that I love, I am going to list experiences that will make you feel something, in the middle of the chaos. The Original Festival Tour is a rundown of the best Carnivals of the world. Take a chance and experience a city at the height of celebration. Which festival and place excites you?
Carnival of Venice January 27 – February 13, 2018
Has roots in a celebration by the Venice Republic commemorating its victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia in 1162. The festivities have evolved a great deal since then, though mask-wearing traditions are still a central component, many of which have become synonymous with carnival symbols the world over. Fun fact, the porcelain masks were first worn as a revolt against class hierarchy as far back as the 13th century.
Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife - February 4-18, 2018
Though Tenerife hosts countless fiestas every year, none of them come close to emulating its carnival. Widely considered the second most popular carnival after Rio’s event, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been splashing the capital of the Canary Islands in swathes of color for centuries now. This 15 days of vivid extravagance turns the city into one big colorful party, as a gala to elect the carnival queen, satirical hymns and unparalleled bonhomie dominate the proceedings.
Haiti’s Jacmel Kanaval - February 4-6, 2018
For a window into Haitian culture, watch as the colorful pantomiming parade of political commentary, Voodoo references and oversized, expressive papier-mâché masks (known as Kanaval) flood the streets in the seaside town of Jacmel, Haiti. I am going this year, join me!
The Carnival of Oruro – February 10-13, 2018
Once an indigenous celebration, this fest has now evolved into a celebration with a strong connection to religious symbolism in the form of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Tio Supay (God of the underworld). These two icons form the backdrop for the festival, which features a “dance of the devils” ritual, La Diablada, that represents the triumph of good over evil. Sporting a plethora of folkloric myths, legends and curious traditions, this carnival is apt at distorting the norms of everyday life. Rest up from the shenanigans by spending a few extra days in Bolivia, where alpine salt flats, lakes and riveting landscapes await.
Rio - February 9-14, 2018
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a festival held every year before Lent and considered the biggest carnival in the world with 2 million people per day on the streets. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723.
Fasnacht in Basel - February 19-22, 2018
Switzerland’s largest and most popular festival features 20,000 or so masked participants who march through the city streets to the tune of carnival music. In orderly Swiss fashion, the carnival theme is disclosed months in advance, giving participants a good amount of time to prepare for the debauchery. However, the carnival itself is not quite as structured, as its patrons wander from one bar to another singing, acting and uttering witty remarks known as Schnitzelbängg.
Trinidad & Tobago Carnival - February 12-13, 2018
An annual event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in Trinidad and Tobago. The event is well known for participants' colorful costumes and exuberant celebrations.
Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade - September 3 , 2018
The Labor Day Parade is an annual celebration held on American Labor Day in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in New York City. The main event is the West Indian Day Parade, which attracts between 1 and 3 million participants.
Image Courtesy of National Geographic.