The excitement is palpable here in the Central Algarve as people and business alike are preparing for the famous Loulé Carnaval! It is a pagan festival that is celebrated always on a Tuesday, 47 days before Easter Sunday. The festivities however are celebrated over a three day period, starting 03 March 2019 and ending on Shrove Tuesday, 05 March 2019.
Carnaval is a holiday celebrated throughout Portugal, with notable parades being held in Ovar, Sesimbra, Torres Vedros, Funchal and of course, Loulé. The carnaval in Loulé is one of the oldest held in Portugal and is also said to be the biggest, with thousands of Portuguese and tourists alike, flocking to the Central Algarve to be a part of festivities!
Historically Carnaval was celebrated by the Greeks as a way of thanking the gods for the good harvest of the year. This tradition has since been adapted throughout Europe and afar, as it began to be celebrated by the Catholic Church around 590AD. It marks the eve of fasting before Lent, and the idea was to gorge on a feast of delicacies before deprivation beginning the following day.
Today Carnaval is celebrated by way of everyone (adults, children, workers alike) dressing up in an array of costumes and floats are paraded to satirize the main social, political, economic or sports events of the last year (you don’t need to be Portuguese to get the message!). Anything goes, but it is most commonly cartoon characters, superheros, Rio Carnaval feathers, and last year we event were treated to a brigade of Elvis Presleys! Guests can enjoy an array of entertainment throughout the city, from traditional Portuguese and Samba dancing, Kids club face painting stands, and spectacularly extravagant floats. The Gigantones (giant puppets) and Cabeçudos (figures with enormous heads made from paper maché) are iconic features throughout the Saturday parade. Competitions are held for the ‘Best Dressed’, ‘Best Float’ etc, and so you can be sure to see some interesting and unique costumes and floats!
The Carnaval is always great fun, and for just 2€ entry, it is great value for an interesting and culturally rich day out in the beautiful and historic city of Loulé. The best part is all money raised from ticket sales shall be donated to local charities!
Check out this video from last years Carnaval to get you in the spirit!