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Portugal celebrates its Carnival time  in February. Celebrated all over Portugal  The festival of Carnival Portugal is related to what is called the equivalent of the mardi gras and is one of the biggest festivals Portugal enjoys each year attracting thousands of people from all over. It is celebrated in Portugal and the rest of the Azores toward the end of February This event is celebrated by music, dance and  costumes  and fancy floats and can take months of preparation. At this time of year the sun in normally shining with the wild flowers and blossoms all on show

Portugal’s Carnival history dates back to  hundreds of years across many regions The history of the festival actually date from  catholic religion. Which started  in Italy, the tradition began while putting on a mix of glamorous and scary costumes to feature on the festival the day before Lent began. During Lent Catholics abstain from meat so the festival was called “Carnevale” which literally means to “put away the meat.”

This festival became extremely famous over the years and spread its roots to most countries in Europe where Catholicism was prominent.

Whilst these Carnivals are for fun celebrations, the Portuguese take the preparation quite seriously! It’s a show of the best of the best and there is a fun element of showing who can produce the best costumes each normally has a theme even farmers join in even if only pulling the float by there tractor

Whilst some of the best Carnivals come from Brazil many bring these all the way with the famous one of all in the Algarve that of Loule it even gets televised it can be that good but with serious preparation having gone into the planning of it

. If you happen to be over here in the Algarve region this is the perfect place to celebrate the Carnival festival by the sea. They will go to the trouble of decorating the local fishing boats and parade them along the shoreline for all to see. Restaurants stock up on seafood and often cataplanas can be the dish of the day. Small stall appear   some bring down the traditional bread ovens and pig roasts and for €2-3 fresh pork slice between fresh baked bread is often a favourite with a glass of local wine.

All over the Azores Carnivals appear, another great place where thousands of visitors arrive every year is in Funchal, specifically on the island of Madeira. This mountainous island hosts a spectacular event where the favourite dish is grilled swordfish still caught off it waters accompanied by a glass of  Madeira wine. The scenery is beautiful and spirits run high as the exciting festival takes hold

These few days of carnival celebrates the end of the winter season and the beginning of Lent and spring, in Lisbon is has also become equally based on fun. With this festival Portugal residents carry on much of the fun throughout the month and a buzz blankets the city like no other time of year. The festival Portugal loves dearly is best celebrated in the modern part of Lisbon in Parque Nacoes along the riverfront.

Though Carnival might be most celebrated in Lisbon and the islands, the rest of the country puts on quite a show as well and visitors will see parades all along the ample coastline as well as inland.  Police will blockade the main roads for your safety and fun so take the time to enjoy and be part of the culture of Portugal

A Small Algarve Carnival even join in the festive Fun (Alte) village

Carnival Season

Carnival date varies           2011                   2012
47 days before Easter   Sunday March 8    February 21

 Good Friday               April 22                  April 6

Loule Carnival from 5 to 8 March, 2011. Each year the parade has a different theme. Though the carnivals in Loulé and  Quarteira are the biggest, carnivals in the Algarve.

 8th March 2011, Ash Wednesday is on the 9th so for the purpose of booking a holiday I would say that the week of the 5th to the 12th March will be considered Carnival week for 2011. .

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