10 things you didn’t know about Carnival
Carnival is coming, and with it the days of fun and costumes. We all know why they take place and what do they consist of. But we have come across some facts on it that are probably unknown to most of you. We are going to tell you 10 things about this celebration.
Carnival arrived in America with the Spanish conquerors. It is said that Hernán Cortés himself took it to Mexico and even asked the Spanish Crown for funding in order to properly celebrate it on the other side of the Atlantic.
It is said that in the Czech Republic, the king would dress up in flowers, leaves and grass, and “ran off” from his citizens on a horse, as they tried to catch him. We’ve heard that, if he wasn’t caught, he would stay in charge for one more year, but if he effectively got caught, he had to renounce to the crown.
Carnival is a luminous celebration everywhere in the world except in Fasnacht (Switzerland). There, the whole thing starts with a general blackout at four in the morning.
It is said that Asia is the only continent in which Carnival is not celebrated. But that is not entirely true: in Japan they have an equivalent celebration called Awa Odori. It is one of the oldest (more than 400 years old), although it doesn’t take place in February, but in August.
Another unusual date for the Carnival to start happens in Köln (Germany). There it starts on the 11th of November. In case you haven’t realized, it is the 11th day of the month, but not only that: celebrations start at a funny hour: 11:11 in the morning.
It is also not a coincidence that Valentine’s Day and Carnival are so close together: they both share a common origin in the Roman “lupercalia”, which took place on the 15th of February.
Have you seen the typical Venetian masks with a long nose that resembles a beak? They are inspired in the masks that, during the Plague years, were worn by doctors. Inside those noses, they carried a perfumed cloth in order to stand the stink from the ill.
Why don’t they celebrate Carnival in the United States? Well, because they already celebrate Halloween. Furthermore, in many American cities it is so cold in February that it would be impossible to go out in the street with a simple costume.
Two of the most famous European festival could be related: it is said that the first Carnival in Cadiz was organized by the colonies of Venetian traders that established in the Andalusian city in the 15th century.
Carnival in Spain usually ends with “the Burial of the Sardine”. Where does this habit come from? It seems that it all comes from the 19th century, when a group of students from Madrid decided to organize a funeral for a sardine in order to symbolize the arrival of Lent. Others say that the ministers of Charles III decided to get rid of a load of rotten sardines destined to the palace’s kitchens, giving it away to the poor of the capital; they mocked this measure by organizing a funeral for the poor sardines.
We hope that these facts have entertained you as much as it has been a fun time finding them. So, this is all for today… go out and enjoy the carnival, because that is what it is for!
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