Friday, January 30, 2009


A carnival parade is a public celebration, combining some elements of a circus and public street party, generally during the Carnival Season. The Carnival Season is a holiday period during the two weeks before the traditional Christian fast of Lent. The origin of the name "Carnival" is unclear as there are two theories. The most commonly known theory states that the name comes from the Italian carne- or carnovale, from Latin carnem (meat) + levare (lighten or raise), literally "to remove the meat" or "stop eating meat". The other theory states that it originates from the Latin carrus navalis, which was some kind of Greek cart carrying a statue of a god in a religious procession at the annual festivities in honour of the god Apollo. Most commonly the season began on Septuagesima Sunday, the third from the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, but in some places it started as early as Twelfth Night, continuing until Lent. This period of celebration and partying had its origin in the need to use up all remaining meat and animal products such as eggs and butter before the fasting season. The celebration of Carnival ends on "Mardi Gras" (French for "Fat Tuesday", meaning Shrove Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, when the rigours of Lent's 40 days of fasting and sacrifice begin. It sometimes lasts until PiƱata Weekend, the first Saturday and Sunday of Lent.

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