National Geographic : 2007 Feb
CULTURE Venice, Italy New Orleans, . United States Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Rio de Janeiro, Brazil World Party Inone last blast, revelers in many countries indulge in a riot of sensual pleasures before the austere obser vance of Christian Lent. Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, Carnaval, Carnevale-by whatever name, the celebrations sizzle with music, dancing, extravagant costumes, and wild parades. New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, and Port-of-Spain host the biggest bacchanals. - A. R. Williams NEW ORLEANS RIO DE JANEIRO VENICE PORT-OF-SPAIN HISTORY Louisiana Mardi Gras Revelers hurled food and Carnevale's origins reach French planters brought celebrations in the 1700s liquid at each other in a back to the 11th century. Carnival with them in the imitated the masked balls raucous street fight before Celebrations died out after 18th century. It was taken of Paris. Parades began parades became the rage Venice's 1797 fall to Napo- up by former slaves after in the 1800s. in the mid-1800s. leon but revived in 1980. their 1834 emancipation. FOOD King cake, iced in gold, Bolinos de bacalhau (cod Frittelle (fritters), crespelle Pelau(chicken, rice, and purple, and green. Who- fritters), feijoada (meat (crepes), sfingiand galani pigeon peas), bake and ever gets the tiny doll and bean stew), manioc (doughnuts), berlingaccio shark (fish sandwich), baked inside is obligated fries, caipirinha (sugar- (sweet bread), sanguinac- doubles (curried chick to host the next party. cane liquor, lime, sugar) cio (blood pudding) peas in fried dough), rum RITUALS Masked balls, parades of Formal balls, and a parade Masked balls, parades, The Carnival season of floats, jazz brass bands, of floats and thousands of processions of gondolas, parties, concerts, and steel throwing beads and samba dancers through pantomimes, juggling, band shows climaxes in doubloons to the crowds the Sambadrome fireworks, concerts two days of parades. Social clubs, or krewes, organize parades and balls. The oldest, Mistick Krewe of Comus, began in 1857. The first African American club, Zulu, was founded in 1909. Kicking off Carnaval in 2006, a free Rolling Stones concert drew more than a million fans to Copacabana Beach. At the height of the 10-day festival, some 150,000 visitors a day flock to the city's historic center, home to 62,000 Venetians. Soca, the soul-influenced calypso sound native to Trinidad and Tobago, propels Carnival parades with a pounding rhythm. PHOTO:MICHAELNICHOLS,NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHER DID YOU KNOW?