|Carnival does not
take place only in Louisiana. There are many celebrations around the world.
In Brazil, the celebration is supposed to go on from the Saturday before Mardi Gras until Mardi Gras Day, but in some Brazilian cities the celebration can last seven or eight days. Just like New Orleans, not many important things are decided in Brazil from New Year's Day to Mardi Gras Day because they are preparing for or celebrating Carnaval (Portuguese for Carnival). Most Brazilian parades have a theme, or enredo, which could be political, historical, or a tribute to someone. The parades had to have a theme that related to Brazil until 1996. Some cities in Brazil do not have a street Carnaval but they might have an indoor ball.
Rio de Janeiro is the mother of all carnaval celebrations around the world. More than twelve escola de sambas, or samba schools, compete in categories of costumes, dance, and percussion. Escola de sambas include the floats, costumes, dancers, and musicians. They are also known as samba schools because the first escola de samba practiced in a grade school. The parades in Rio are known as bandas, with more than 10,000 participants per parade, the bandas go around most of Rio de Janeiro's neighborhoods.
Bolivia has Carnival parades for children and then more parades for adults. The children dress up in costumes and march in the streets. The adults make traditional dance groups and dance in the streets. But the main part of Bolivia's carnival is getting wet. Most everyone gets wet from water balloons and water buckets. In Oruru, Bolivia, their Carnival is the last ten days of the Carnival season. People there participate in crafts and dancing, but their main Carnival event is a ceremonial parade that lasts for twenty hours and parades four kilometers. Over 20,000 dancers are involved as well as 10,000 musicians. This parade attracts at least 400,000 people.
There are multiple Carnival celebrations in the Caribbean islands. Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival includes lots of steel bands and is only on Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras. Haiti's kanaval lasts the four days before Lent and millions of people visit in the Port-au-Prince to see lots of raras or bandes-a-pieds (marching bands). Families with children usually celebrate during the day because there is usually violence after dark when the raras are competing for the kanaval song of the year.
Mobile, Alabama claims to have had the first parade in America. Some historians in Alabama say their Masque de la Mobile feasts were to celebrate Carnival even though they took place in August. They first celebrated in 1704 and then every year for 138 years. Two other Carnival groups met in Mobile. The Boeuf Gras Society met once a year on Mardi Gras Day from 1711 to 1861 and the Spanish Mystic Society met on Twelfth Nights from 1793 to 1833. But Mobile's most important contribution to Mardi Gras was from the Cowbellian deRakin Society, named after the rakes and cowbells they used as noisemakers. This society paraded on New Year's Eve starting in 1830 and grew so large one year they were written about in The Times-Picayune, the major paper for New Orleans. The group added floats and a theme to the parade in 1840. The Mistick Krewe of Comus was founded by some members of the Cowbellian deRakin Society and the society lent Comus floats and costumes to use. Mobile now has a Mardi Gras similar to New Orleans', complete with beads and balls.
Carnival in Galveston, Texas now has sixteen parades. Mardi Gras was first celebrated in Galveston in 1867 with a masked ball and one of Shakespeare's plays. The first two Carnival clubs were organized in 1871. The parades took place after dark. Following the parades were tableaux or galas. By 1873, people throughout Texas came to attend Mardi Gras in Galveston. The parades were too fancy and expensive to continue by the 1880s. Parades were stopped and the clubs still had their balls. Parades returned in the 1910s. Mardi Gras was cancelled in Galveston for World War I like New Orleans and Mobile had been. Because of World War II, not many men were available to participate in the parades, so private parties were all that took place for at least forty years. In 1985, George and Cynthia Mitchell helped create the Grand Night Parade. Many other parades came back to the scene or began parading and now more than 500,000 people visit Galveston annually to participate in the festivities.
The Carnival in Venice, Italy is often referred to as the most elaborate Carnival and lasts ten days before Lent. Many events are held in the canals including shows, concerts, dances, and water processions with masked rowers and decorated boats. Their official ending to the celebration is the ball held in St. Mark's Square.
Spaniards in Cadiz, Spain celebrate with papier mache figures and satirical songs copied from Venice's celebration. Carnival was cancelled during the Spanish Civil War, but it has always been in Cadiz with several celebrations starting a week before Mardi Gras and ending a week after Mardi Gras. The main celebrations start the Saturday before Mardi Gras and end on Mardi Gras Day.
Germany calls their Carnival fasching and the largest parade is in Dusseldorf and called Rosenmontag. Rosenmontag is on Lundi Gras and more than 500,000 people attend.