The Best Carnivals in 2009

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You love to travel, and who doesn’t love a great reason for a party? Now it’s the perfect time for both! Shake off the winter blues and let it all hang loose in the 2009 Carnival. Where will you be celebrating? From the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro to the Venetian masquerades, here are the top places to revel in Dionysus’ favorite holiday, the hedonistic Carnival!

The Brazil Carnival: Sexy samba in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil and Carnival is a match made in heaven. The indisputable Queen of Brazil’s Carnival is Rio de Janeiro, where samba schools take to the streets in elaborate parades and sparkling costumes. Dance the night away in luxury galas in elegant palaces or brave the vibrant, thumping streets in the Sambadrome. The Sambadrome is an enormous amphitheater gathered around a street where each of the Samba schools competes in a parade full of fireworks, feathers and feisty dancers. The Carnival in Rio is not for the faint of heart, but definitely tops the list of Carnival revelry and unforgettable celebrations.

Elegant Masquerades at the Venice Carnival

Arguably the birthplace of Carnivale, starting February 13 Venice opens its doors to the throngs of tourists eager to celebrate in this year’s Sensation Carnivale di Venezia. The tradition Opening of the Venice Carnival is scheduled for this Friday, February 13 at the historical Luna Hotel Baglioni. Dress in your traditional Venetian Carnival costumes (and masks!) and enjoy canapés and cocktails in the most elegant Carnival celebration in the world. The most famous Carnival in Italy‘s trademark is undoubtedly the mask which were used for all official banquets and celebrations from the day of Santo Stefano until Shrove Tuesday. Today there are a variety of styles and you can even commission Venetian artists to paint a glittering, intricate mask on your face.

Jazzy Spirit in the legendary Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Welcome to Mardi Gras Madness, the epicenter of Carnival in the United States and a beloved celebration in this Louisiana city. Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” in French, is a celebration featuring vibrant parades, eclectic costumes and of course, the infamous beads. Mardi Gras in New Orleans dates back to the eighteenth century as a party for high society balls and elegant galas in gorgeous Southern mansions. Today, social clubs known as Mardi Gras Krewes organize boisterous parades of elaborate floats, non-stop music and an “anything goes” atmosphere among the revelers. The French Quarter of New Orleans comes alive during Mardi Gras and it’s easy to get in on the action. Cruise down Bourbon Street, the center of New Orleans nightlife, and you’ll find a veritable street party as the bars spill out into the night, with partygoers hanging over terraces and balconies. Go wild at the Sunday Night Bacchus Parade and get your neck ready to hold endless strands of colorful beads!

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival

Santa Cruz de Tenerife offers the largest and most extravagant Carnival in Spain. As the capital of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is an enormous party filled with extraordinary costumes, fabulous dancing, sensational parades and an overall unforgettable party. It is a mixture of island flavor with old European traditions to create possibly the most eclectic and wild Carnival in the world. The Carnival Queen reigns over this freedom festival of song, dance and sparkling costumes. The theme for Santa CruzCarnival 2009 is “Horror Films,” which will most likely create a psychedelic and glitter-filled rendition of Halloween. The main parade is scheduled for Fat Tuesday, February 24.

Photos by annia316, David Sifry and redfilter25.


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