Origin of carnival
OTHER WORDS FROM carnivalcar·ni·val·esque, car·ni·val·like, adjectivepre·car·ni·val, adjective
Words nearby carnival
MORE ABOUT CARNIVAL
What is Carnival?
Carnival, with a capital C, refers to the multiple-day period of merrymaking before the start of Lent. It is especially associated with the massive street festival held annually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is famous for its big parades, ornate costumes, and samba dancing.
Carnival is also celebrated in many other countries, especially those with large Catholic populations, including Italy, Spain, France, and Germany (where it is called Fasching).
The equivalent pre-Lent celebration in the U.S. (especially New Orleans) and some other places is known as Mardi Gras.
In religious contexts, the three-day period before Lent is known as Shrovetide. Carnival is part of a tradition of indulging before the Lenten fast, but it is not a Christian holiday.
Carnival is also sometimes spelled Carnaval.
When is Carnival?
Carnival takes place during the days preceding Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. The length and start date of Carnival vary from place to place. The timing of the festival varies from year to year due to Easter having a variable date.
In 2022, the start of Carnival festivities in Rio has been postponed until April 21. In 2023, it is scheduled to start on February 17.
Where does Carnival come from?
The more general sense of carnival referring to an amusement fair comes from the capital C sense of Carnival. The first use of Carnival in English, dating to the 1540s, was as the name of the pre-Lent festival. It comes from the Old Italian word carnelevare, meaning “taking meat away,” from carne, “flesh,” and the Latin levāre, “to lift.” The name is a reference to the traditional practice of abstaining from meat during Lent.
Carnival was first celebrated in Europe. It was brought to Brazil by the Portuguese. Though initially based on European customs, Carnival in Rio incorporates many traditions from Indigenous Brazilians as well as those passed down from enslaved African Peoples.
What are some terms that often get used in discussing Carnival?
How is Carnival discussed in real life?
Carnival is especially associated with the massive street festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which features huge parades and lavish costumes.
Some of this year's Rio Carnival floats are extraordinary. Utterly enormous and intricately decorated. Layer after layer of detail. pic.twitter.com/fyB21Bssiz
— David Sim (@davidsim) March 4, 2019
These are some of the figurines/puppets that come out during Carnival in Olinda, Brazil. Whilst not as famous internationally as the Carnival in Rio, the Recife/Olinda Carnival is a huge, colourful event with the streets filled with the puppets that can be up to 20ft high! pic.twitter.com/nSFU081Bo5
— Alex Outhwaite (@AlexOuthwaite) January 12, 2022
Love this story!!! Johan Cruyff: "One day, Romario asked me if he could miss training to go to Brazil for carnival. I said: 'If you score 2 goals tomorrow you can go.' He scored twice in 20 minutes against Real Madrid & asked to be replaced. 'Coach, my plane leaves in 1 hour.'" pic.twitter.com/WrqijCYTsu
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) January 18, 2022
Try using Carnival!
True or False?
Carnival takes place immediately after Lent.
How to use carnival in a sentence
On the HBO show Euphoria, Alexa Demie’s character, Maddy Perez, wore a pair of bright purple pants with slits cut on the side to a carnival.
“So far, Liberty has not agreed to any particular plan or contract,” the statement said, going on to add that the school would rent its parking areas to any political party if asked, as it has done in the past for carnivals, circuses and car shows.Liberty University surprised by Virginia GOP plans for drive-in convention on campus|Laura Vozzella|February 24, 2021|Washington Post
They likened the barriers to hockey penalty boxes or a carnival funhouse.Maryland lawmakers return to Annapolis for start of unusual 90-day session|Ovetta Wiggins, Erin Cox|January 13, 2021|Washington Post
A simple but effective analogy is to imagine the carnival game where balls are dropped onto a vertical board covered in wooden pegs.New Quantum Computer in China Claims Quantum Advantage With Light|Jason Dorrier|December 6, 2020|Singularity Hub
There are fireworks, barbecues, carnivals, parades, and a whole slew of activities.Ecommerce marketing this Independence Day will be tricky: Four must dos|Evelyn Johnson|June 23, 2020|Search Engine Watch
Lupher says the Carnival Magic tried to land in Cozumel, but that the Mexican authorities blocked them from the dock.
People aboard the Carnival Magic have another day and a half at sea before they reach Galveston, Texas.
Dispensable human warmth is enough of a sell, even without the dolls and magical pictures on sale at her traveling carnival.
For those who did show up, the event resembled a political carnival.
Was the hammer scene, for you, like that strength game at the carnival where you hit the block with the hammer?Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington on Jon Snow’s Heroism and Loss in the Battle of Castle Black|Marlow Stern|June 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
At two o'clock, the general of the Carnival opens the public ball with the Mugnaia.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
If you wanted to let her go you did so; if not, you talked in the squeaky voice that is the recognized etiquette of the carnival.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
If the work goes well I shall try to arrange for you both to come here in the Carnival Week, so that you may hear it.The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky|Modeste Tchaikovsky
The Turkish lines stretched away to his left; he had cleared their flank, and the battle raged in its mad carnival behind him.God Wills It!|William Stearns Davis
The story goes that one night during the carnival he was wounded by some masqueraders, who mistook him for another person.Belgium|George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond
British Dictionary definitions for carnival
- a festive occasion or period marked by merrymaking, processions, etc: esp in some Roman Catholic countries, the period just before Lent
- (as modifier)a carnival atmosphere