We have arrived at one of the most fun times of the year, Carnival!
Carnival is one of the most popular and anticipated festivities of the year in Portugal. It has a long history and unique traditions! This event is a true spectacle in every sense.
The origin of the Portuguese Carnival dates back to ancient times, when people celebrated the arrival of spring. As time went by, the festivities adapted and gained new characteristics, such as masked parades and colourful costumes.
These parades are one of the most awaited attractions of Carnival. People dress up in creative and extravagant ways, creating real works of art on their bodies. They are lively parades, with music, dancing and a lot of joy.
Finally, music is another fundamental element of the Portuguese Carnival. These are lively and fun songs, which infect us all with their cheerful rhythm.
A little bit all over the country, including the islands, there is a lot of animation and very old traditions waiting for you.
Let’s talk about some cities where Carnival is eagerly awaited and celebrated with heart and soul.
The Carnival of Torres Vedras is one of the most famous in Portugal!
It is about 50 km from Lisbon and the parade brings together revellers from all over to party together.
In this carnival, you can’t miss the matrafonas (men dressed as women) and the cabeçudos (giant dolls).
The festivities include a series of events and activities, from costume and mask contests to live music concerts.
The Carnival of Torres Vedras is a celebration of life and joy.
Cardadores in Vale de Ílhavo
Cardadores is a carnival tradition in Vale de Ílhavo, Portugal.
It is not clear how they started, but the cardadores are mythical figures of the Ílhavo carnival procession. In all, there will be about 400 participants who will provide revelry and fun, combining colour and joy with social satire and also silliness.
This tradition consists of men dressed in traditional costumes and masks, who parade through the streets, singing and dancing to the rhythm of lively, cheerful music. The cardadores are known for their exaggerated and acrobatic movements, which make them look like rope dancers.
The tradition of the cardadores is a unique way of celebrating carnival in the region, and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It is a fun and colourful event, which attracts many people to the streets to join in the celebrations. Furthermore, it is an important cultural event that preserves and celebrates the tradition and identity of the Ílhavo Valley.
The carnival of Loulé is one of the most lively and colourful events in the country.
The town is transformed into one big party during carnival nights, with lots of music, dancing and joy.
The carnival parades are one of the highlights of the festival, with many samba schools and folklore groups parading through the city streets, dressed in brightly coloured costumes. People gather to dance and sing along to the music, and the atmosphere is truly contagious.
Apart from the parades, the carnival in Loulé also has many other activities such as costume contests, balls and evening parties. The town is full of life during these days, and people come from all over the country.
The Caretos de Podence Carnival is one of the most different carnivals in Portugal.
Every year, the “diabolical” Caretos – masked boys with colourful fringed costumes, pointed-nosed faces made of tin or leather and rattles around their waists – roam the streets making noise and picking on people passing by, especially unmarried girls.
These devilish figures represent the chaos that brings winter to an end and brings the fertility of spring.
It is a more intimate Carnival, where friends receive the Caretos in their homes. At the end of Carnival, people gather to burn a giant Careto in the town centre, the symbol of Entrudo.
It is guaranteed entertainment. The spirit of togetherness is fabulous!
The Carnival of Lazarim has a half hidden message, the social criticism of the confrontation between men and women. During two weeks, there is a lot of preparation: one week for the compadres and another week for the comadres. The groups of compadres and compadres take the stage on Tuesday of Carnival with a hilarious procession. The parade is followed by the burning of the puppets of both groups.
As usual in these parts, everything ends in conviviality, with good food, good drinks and lots of entertainment.
The day after, the masks’ artisans start preparing their work for the next year.
Carnival in Ovar has gone through several transformations. There were times of carnival with masked balls in noble halls and even a dirty carnival, where they threw eggs and rotten fruit, without law or rock.
Nowadays, in Ovar, the carnival festivities last for about a month, where animation takes over the city streets.
One of the high points is the Sunday parade, which repeats itself on Tuesday, with various groups parading showing their costumes and choreographies. There are 4 samba schools, 14 carnival groups and 6 passerelle groups.
Ovar defines its carnival as the “vitamin of joy”, because there is no lack of animation!
In summary, the Portuguese Carnival is a festivity full of tradition and joy, all over the country. It brings together people of all ages, uniting them around a single thing: the celebration of life. When you have the opportunity to take part in these festivities, you will realise how lively and full of life this season is!