Mardi Gras In Nice And Similar Carnaval Celebrations In Ot

Every year on or immediately after the Feast of the Epiphany until the eve of Ash Wednesday, many cities around the world go on a celebration popularly called Mardi Gras. The Mardi Gras celebration is one of festive mood, during which lots of merrymaking take place. There are dancing and parades on the streets with people wearing costumes and masks. Sports competitions are also held elsewhere.

Mardi Gras traces its origin in the city of Nice in France. The term “Mardi Gras” is French for “Fat Tuesday”, coined to refer to the final night of indulging in rich foods prior to the start of the Lenten season (Ash Wednesday) during which fasting is a religious obligation.

History has it that the French city of Nice was the first to hold Carnival (Carnaval in French) festivities. This was in 1294. The festivities included activities commonly witnessed in a circus, such as mimes, jugglers, bonfires and balls, to name a few. People only need to wear masks and come in costumes in order to participate. The Nice Carnaval became very popular that people from all over the world began visiting the city during this time of the year.

Today, Mardi Gras in Nice is celebrated over a period of ten days. The streets come to life during this period, with parades featuring costumed people on flower-decked floats. Other fun-filled events are lined up during the day. When night falls, spectacular light displays illuminate the city.

Other cities in France hold festivities similar to Mardi Gras. Here are some of them:

1. Carnaval de Granville – This is held in Granville, France during the period when Mardi Gras in Nice is celebrated. The first celebration of this Carnaval took place in 1872. Back then, the feast was dedicated to fishermen as a sendoff ceremony prior to their new adventure out in the waters.

2. Carnaval de Bailleul – This celebration takes place in the town of Bailleul near France’s border with Belgium. It’s been an annual celebration here since 1853.

3. Carnaval des deux rives – The port city of Bordeaux is host to this annual celebration. Simultaneous celebrations (of the same Carnival) in at least twelve other cities around the world take place in the same period that the Bordeaux Carnival is held.

4. Carnaval de Jargeau – This celebration is held in the small town of Jargeau near the Loire river in central France.

5. Carnaval de Nantes – Close to half a million people attend this annual celebration, which is held in the city of Nantes in western France.

6. Carnaval de Pézenas – A festival celebration held annually in the town of Pézenas.

7. Carnaval de Vitré – A yearly celebration in the city of Vitré.

Of course, the French capital city of Paris holds its own Mardi Gras every year. It’s called Carnaval de Paris, considered one of Europe’s major festivals since the 16th century. The Carnival takes place after the Fête des Fous (Feast of Fools), which occurs between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany.

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