What is Carnival?

Where does Carnival come from?

The word Carnival comes from the Latin root, “Carne Vale” or “Farewell to the Flesh”. There is also a school of thought that origin of the name that the name comes from the Italian “Carne Levare”, meaning “to remove meat”, since meat is traditionally prohibited during the Lenten season.

Carnival origins date back to the ancient Greek spring festival in honor of Dionysus, “the God of wine”. (Oh the irony!!!)

The Romans later adopted the festival with Bacchanalia, (Bacchanal anyone‼!) which were feasts that were held in honor of Bacchus, who was the Roman equivalent to the Greek Dionysus. Bacchanalia was also known as Saturnalia. During the celebration, the slaves and their masters would exchange clothes in a day of drunken revelry. Saturnalia was eventually adapted by the Roman Catholic Church into a festival that leads up to Ash Wednesday and became a massive celebration of indulgences!

One last chance for music, food, alcohol, and sex before Lent began. Lent is the 40 days of personal reflection, abstinence, and fasting until Easter. So now in tons of nations across the world the 40 days of Lent, the purging of sins, is preceded by a week filled with practically every known indulgence!

Follow the “Carnival Tuesday” Series for a peek at Carnivals around the world‼!


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