Carnival in Portugal
15 February 2021 | By Rio Maior Municipality
Image | Atlantic CultureScape - Work Package 6 - Carnival ©Fondo Gráfico IAPH, Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico-Romero
Intangible Cultural Heritage: SOCIAL PRACTICES, RITUALS AND FESTIVE EVENTS
Blog by Atlantic CultureScape Partners, Rio Maior Municipality.
The Carnival Party came about “by the hand” of the Catholic Church in the 11th century, when the Holy Week celebrations were instituted, preceded by 40 long days of fasting: Lent.
During the three days preceding this period of penance and privation, people united, praised their customs and traditions, and organized a great feast that took place on the so-called “fat days”, especially on Tuesday. People exchanged gifts, ate and drank from morning to night, and elected a king for fun.
At the time of the Renaissance, masquerade balls and costumes appeared.
The origin of Carnival is related to the joining of two Latin words “carnis” (meat) and “valles” (pleasure) and the event lasts for 3 days. In the Portuguese annual ceremonial calendar, Carnival is one of the most important festive “cycles”. It currently assumes particular prominence in urban environments, but at the same time still has its own characteristics in traditional rural environments.
After several decades without Carnival parades, in which only the School Carnival existed, in 2011, Rio Maior revives the event aimed at the entire population.
Since then, the Night Carnival has animated the streets of the city, with carnival floats and groups on foot, and the School Carnival has been maintained with an increasingly strong and lively presence of our schools.
Carnival is the biggest festival of the year in Portugal and celebrations should have taken place from the 13th to the 16th of February. This year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic Carnival is cancelled but hopefully it can return in 2022.