08/02/2024 - Carnival in the Centre of Portugal

When we think of "Carnival" we think of fun masks and disguises, and days of partying, accompanied by good friends and good music.

And the best place to celebrate it is in the Centre of Portugal!

Carnival in the Centre of Portugal is one of the most popular events for revellers.

All over the country, during the month of February, carnival festivities are out on the streets, with huge parades, masked balls, concerts, and DJs.

It is believed that Carnival originated in Greece in the mid-600s to 520 BC, when the Greeks celebrated their gods. At these festivals, the inversion of order was valued, where people could hide, change identities, or acquire socially different roles from the ones they had. With the rise of Christianity, pagan festivals took on a new meaning, so that during the Middle Ages, Carnival celebrations began at Christmas and lasted until Lent.

The story goes that it was in the 18th century that the first masked balls appeared in Italy. Cities like Florence and Venice still compete today for the most exuberant Carnival parties, held in magnificent palaces built and decorated by Renaissance masters. Historians say that the concept of the Modern Carnival - with parades, dances, and costumes - was born in Paris and exported around the world.

Formerly called Entrudo, the first records of Carnival in Portugal date back to 1252, during the reign of King Afonso III.

Carnival is now part of Lusitanian cultural identity and in the Centre of Portugal we find a vast and rich array of carnival celebrations, with very different registers, which end up reflecting the culture of each of its communities.

You can consult the list of Carnival Festivities taking place throughout the country here.

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