Loule’s Famous Carnival

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Loule’s fantastic Carnival – one of the biggest tourist attractions of the region with 700 participants, 17 floats and 6 samba schools - will take place this year on February 19, 20 and 21. The parade returns after a break of two years due to Covid restrictions. Legend has it that it was Loule who first introduced Carnival to Rio de Janeiro - the world’s biggest and most famous Carnival event..!

Carnival season – celebrated all over Portugal – is a festival of lively Samba music, dance and, of course, spectacular costumes. These elaborate creations have to be seen to be believed! Many people spend months preparing their costumes for the celebration. From feathers to metal to sequins, with a little bit of flesh - you will see it all!

The tradition of Carnival was introduced several centuries ago by Catholics in Italy who started holding a wild costume festival the night before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during that period, they called their festival ‘Carnevale’, which means 'to put away the meat'. In time, Carnivals spread in popularity to France, Spain and eventually all the Catholic countries of Europe.

The high point is on Carnival Tuesday when many towns and cities across the country come to a complete standstill as lively parades of gaily-coloured floats fill the streets. Apart from Loule, the biggest and brightest Mardi Gras parades can be found in Ovar, Sesimbra and Torres Vedras.

For Portugal, Carnival is a show. The parades, the costumes, the music, the floats, the people and the food – it will have you awestruck. There are parties everywhere and everyone is happy, lively and welcoming.

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Published in: Guide to Portugal / Miscellaneous / Portuguese Life