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If like many others you are looking to take part in one of the worlds many varied and spectacular carnivals this year then Mega Fancy Dress have got you covered! We stock some incredible outfits themed around some of the most popular and vibrant carnivals accross the globe and you're sure to find something that represents you. Whether it be Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras or Chinese New Year we have the products to make sure you're the best dressed at the party!
Cologne carnival is called Kolner Karneval in Germany featuring massive parades, costumes, humour and many more. The city of Cologne looks forward to the event every year especially because of its economic advantages. Hotels are always fully booked while sales figures rise. It attracts lots of international sponsors and media attention. The biggest artistes and bands also feature; the music scene is so massive that some musicians achieve carnival stardom and go on to have ‘carnival hits’. Many social hangouts like cafes, bars and clubs put different entertaining performances together. These events like several other versions held on the streets are not official but they attract thousands of participation.
The carnival kicks of every year on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month but the real parties do not begin till the New Year. Yearly events see titles of maiden, prince and peasant awarded to people who pay money for the privilege. In accordance with tradition, the maiden is a man dressed as a lady while the carnival prince, also referred to as ‘his madness’ is an important part if the carnival processions. The prince symbolises leadership over carnival goers while the peasant symbolises victory and territorial independence. Though the maiden is played by a man, ‘she’ is not permitted to have facial hair. Also known as ‘her loveliness’ or ‘the virgin’ she wears a crown that symbolizes the invulnerability of Cologne.
One of the big days to look forward to in Cologne carnival 2013 is Women’s carnival day is on Thursday, February 7th. The streets get busy with several ladies wearing fancy dress to work. The Prince, Peasant and Maiden declare the day’s events open. Parties and masked balls take place in the evening of the same day. Masked balls continue next day. On February 9th, there is a traditional early morning drink and parties continue in the evening in several locations. The following day, a Sunday features a parade which starts at eleven in the morning with school groups dressed in fancy dress in attendance. 11th February is ‘Rose Monday’ which is the big official colourful parade organised by the carnival committee. The final day is traditionally marked with fish dinners served in pubs and restaurants.
Cadiz is one of the most popular destinations for carnivals in Spain. Though the history is not particularly clear, the earliest documentation about the carnival has been traced back to the late 15th century. Referred to as Carnaval de Cadiz in Spanish; it is characterised by cleverness, witty imagination, humour and face paint costumes. Face painting is a traditional substitute for masks. Costume balls are equally popular attracting participants from all over the world. It features choirs singing and a host of musical instruments. Amongst popular instruments used by the choirs are guitars, lutes and mandolins. Gourds and kazoos are equally popular especially during parades and humorous events like comic performances. Singing and music is a mainstay in the celebrations.
Musical groups and singing competitions are the most recognized features of the Cadiz carnival. Choirs, chrigigotas, comparsas and quartets are a few of widely known music groups. Chirigota group members wear identical costumes while singing witty and satirical songs about politics. They can be seen singing in different public places and usually composed of friends or family members. The choirs are bigger in number and are noted to wear elaborate costumes while playing diverse instruments. The quartets are a comical singing group of three or four people. Comparsas on the other hand are regarded as the most serious musical groups generally because of their talents and classical approach to songs.
The whole city partakes in the carnival for more than two weeks every year. Cadiz citizens look forward to the yearly event because the city comes alive and transforms to a massive stage of fun and celebration. The build-up involves recitals, rehearsals and contests. It is so important to the people of Cadiz that a number of them dedicate a whole year preparing for the next carnival. The Gran Teatro Falla will host major contests between different Carnival groups. This year will be crowded as usual with thousands of fun seekers storming into Cadiz from all over Europe. Expect thunderous fireworks, concerts, beautiful parades, happy dancing kids, beauty pageants, flamboyant costumes, massive crowd and endless partying.
Called Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain, it is one of the biggest and most widely recognised carnivals in the world and has since been described as a ‘Tourist Festival of International Interest’. The theme for 2013 Santa Cruz de Tenerife is Bollywood and India. This year marks the first time the theme of the event was decided with internet voting. Carnival goers should prepare outfits like native Indian costumes if you do not want to feel left out in the fun. Thousands of people go into the streets daily to participate while wearing costumes and different kind of disguises. Disguises are part of carnival tradition. This means every carnival goer needs to flow with the theme or they may feel left out.
Loads of fun and partying is guaranteed and it doesn’t really matter whether you can speak Spanish or not. The partying on the streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife begins with an opening parade the Friday preceding the carnival. The festivities increase immensely on the same night when thousands of participants clad in fancy dress take to the streets to dance till the next morning. That is how people party every night throughout the duration of the carnival. The festival is categorised into two different parts which are the carnival on the street and the official Carnival. The street carnivals unlike the official one have no strict organisation and basically comprises of individual events on street corners around Santa Cruz de Tenerife. A host of tourists and citizens participate daily in street events. There is always something of interest going on in every street corner.
One of the official events is the election of the carnival queen. This year’s gala will be held on the 6th of February 2013. Once the winner has been elected, a parade will commence to signal the beginning of the carnival. Expect to witness several commercial street kiosks, stalls and setups along with loud playing music which all highlight the festive atmosphere. You can also look forward to seeing different kinds of competitions showcasing band and dance groups. The ceremony marking the official end of the carnival is called ‘Burial of the Sardine’. It is like a ritual featuring a big sardine sitting on a throne which is carried through the streets on a float with teary mourners in trail.
Carnaval de Vinaros has been celebrated for more than hundred years near Valencia in the eastern part of Spain but there is no exact information on exact beginning of the Carnival in the city of Vinaros. Earliest historical signs date back to the 18th century. Clearer indications of people disguising in Vinaros were later traced to the earlier part of the 19th century. In recent years, the celebration has been a major source of international attraction for the people of the town. The carnivals also have yearly theme which serves as the basis of costume ideas for participants. Adhering to the theme has become a major tradition and it guides the activities of the year.
This year’s theme is tagged ‘Hollywood: Carnival of the Stars’. Expect to see different kinds of film costumes and Hollywood inspired attires. Vinaros carnival is an eleven day celebration of music fancy dress costumes and dance. It attracts fun seekers from all over the world and participants are generally seen in devils costume and drag queen outfits. Past events have seen people dressed in pyjamas and baby costumes as well especially during themed nights. Festivities begin twelve days before Ash Wednesday with great displays like selection of the best drag queens, theme nights, ceremonial events and parades. Notable characteristic of Carnival Vinaros also includes burial of the sardine and fireworks.
A big event in carnival 2013 is the poster competition. This contest is for artists. A certain number of rules guide participation which includes making sure that the subject of their poster art is in line with 2013 theme: Hollywood: Carnival of Stars. The guidelines for the year also state that the original work should carry the name of the carnival. The winner award is decided by a jury and there is a financial price attached as well. After the price has been awarded, the artwork becomes the property of the local organising community. The committee then reserves the right to use the award in print, broadcast and as programme cover.
The carnival in Venice is a great way to discover history and culture and is easily one of the biggest and oldest carnivals in the world with great international appeal. Called Carnevale di Venezia in Italy, it parades a massive assortment of costume and mask displays; a major symbol of the city carnival. Venice carnival and its masks have become famous over the years and continuously remain associated. Wearing one is so important that there is an award for the best masks. One of the most recognizable carnival masks is Medico della Peste which has a long beak and is white in colour. Bauta mask is also well known for its absence of mouth and square pointed chin line. Other popular masks are Columbina, Volto and Moretta and some of them have been featured in movies.
Venice Carnival 2013 starts on 26th January till the 12th of February. This year’s theme is ‘Live in Colour’ and promises to be a colourful display of the best the beautiful city of Venice has to offer with international artistes billed to perform. The Grand Theatre in Piazza San Marco is the heart of the carnival this year and is set to host performances that should not be missed. The 2013 event’s farewell ceremony is tagged the Rowing of Silence which is a quiet rowing procession of Venetian gondolas. Gondolas are traditional boats that used to be the main source of transportation in Venice and are still revered. The silent rowing will be candle lit and will mark the end of the carnival at Punta della Dogana.
The carnival in Venice is a time for entertainment and parties. The citizens of the city will put their personal businesses on hold to celebrate and enjoy the various entertaining events that will be set up throughout the city. Popular entertainment hubs are Piazza San Marco, the Riva degli Schiavoni and all major streets in Venice. Side attractions will come from national and international music stars, dancers and jugglers. There will be acrobatic displays and animals shows featuring people of all ages and social status. Merchandise vendors on the streets will be selling official and unofficial goods like fabrics, spices, fruits and diverse souvenirs. Apart from official city endorsed and organised events, there will be individual performances and shows chiefly organised by cafes and theatres.
Carnevale di Viareggio is one of the most prominent festivals in Italy and Europe. Year 2013 carnival will be held on 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th of February. The carnival idea was believed to have been first discussed in a casino by well to do young Italians in the region and was first held in the 18th century as a protest against tax increase by the authority. That also happens to be the political basis of the parades till date; a reason why participants put on caricatures of politicians and famous people. The humorous caricature of well known personalities also helped propel the events into limelight as people easily embraced the fun. Almost every Italian politician has been caricatured in the floats.
The carnival features massive parades of float wagons, people in masks and diverse costumes. People enjoy dressing up which in particular is a delight for children. Families wear different kinds of costumes including skeletons, animals and soldiers. Anyone attending the festival will also notice paper mache being widely used in parade floats. Paper mache floats were first introduced in the 1920s. Viareggio is renowned for its skilled ship builders who were responsible for building the first floats. The people of the town are known to be passionately committed to constructing the paper floats. The biggest floats can carry between 150 and 200 people and are one of the main symbols of the carnival of Viareggio.
Another aspect of the events is football which is one of the most popular sports in Italy. An ‘International Football Tournament’ is organised as part of the celebrations. Art is also a visible characteristic of Viareggio carnival as a lot of notable Italian artists have been known to contribute to the celebration. There are endless parties around the Tuscan city along with well organised cultural events. The official street party mascot is called ‘Burlamacco’; a clown like figure that wears a combination of clothes taken from other mascots in Italy. It was first introduced in by Uberto Bonetti who won a mascot designing competition in 1931.
Known in Italy as Carnevale di Putignano, the town has become globally recognised for its parades and celebration. It begins on the day after Christmas up till Shrove Tuesday which is the last Tuesday before Lent making it one of the longest carnivals in the world. Carnival disguise is equally important with masked groups having a massive role to play in shows, music and choreographic displays. Costumes, masks, floats and parades all make references to important issues in politics and current affairs. The floats are made with paper mache which usually takes months to complete and have become a subject of interest to art enthusiasts around the world.
Choreographed bands of masked merrymakers stream through the streets to the sound of live music and cheering crowds. Carnival opens with a candle exchange ceremony where participants take candles to the church to seek forgiveness in advance for transgressions they will commit during the carnival. There are recitations of verses in Putignano’s local dialect. The humorous verses are regularly directed towards politicians and public figures in Italy. Every Thursday is dedicated to partying with each one having different themes for young men, priests, married men and women. Masked dances are one of the most popular highlights of Thursday themed parties.
Farinella, the carnival’s mascot adorns a multicoloured jester costume. Popular events include four parades with three consecutively held on the Sundays leading up to Lent and the last one on the night of Shrove Tuesday. Festa dell’ Orso is also another well liked event. Someone dressing in a bear costume will be led along the streets on a leash. The activity calendar is packed and there’s something going on almost daily. This year marks the 619th edition of Carnival Putignano. The fourth and final parade for the year starts at 7pm on 12th of February. The grand finale is marked with a celebration where the Carnival is declared
Karnawal Goralski in Polish; Carnival Goralski or Mountain Carnival takes place in February and is based on Polish traditional folklore. It has been religiously practised every February since 1973 in Bukowina Tatrzanska, south Poland. Also called the Highland Carnival, it attracts people from other parts of the Poland including other countries far and near. Every year, the events begin with a parade of people colourfully clad in costume and different kind of outfit disguises. One of the most common opening proceedings is a showcase of horse pulled carriages and vehicles. The festivities involve musical parades, shows, races and contests that are spread across the five day period of the celebrations.
There are regional musical performances by a number of carol groups who gather at the Folk house to compete with other regions. Theatrical presentations are equally common and are one of the highlights of highland carnival. The younger ones are usually heavily dressed in massive traditional attires. They can be easily seen wearing masks, carrying drums, stringed musical instruments and even dressing up like masquerades. The lesser involved individuals like adults mostly wear simple hats with feathers. Goralski Carnival showcases the great character of the people of Bukowina Tatrzanska as they can easily be seen wishing everyone well as they soak up the festival atmosphere. It is a celebration of long established customs and cultural heritage of the Highlands.
The five days carnival is event packed and one festivity feature to expect is loud playing highland music. You can hear them almost everywhere. Though somewhat dependent on weather, popular competitions include shooting, skiing and sledge rides; children used to be carried to baptism on sledges. Folk art exhibition are also revered in Bukowina Tatrzanska. Expect lots of different kinds of dance competitions from participating regions. You will also be seeing horses everywhere. Finally and as likely, there will be traffic in Bukowina.