The Online Library of Knowledge



Ethiopian Orthodox Christians at the Timkat Festival Ethiopian Orthodox Christians at the Timkat Festival Thousands of festivals—celebrations of special events or times of the year—take place all over the world every year. Singing, dancing, ritual (a religious or other ceremony), costume or processions are a feature of many festivals. Some are family events. Others are large-scale festivals in which everyone takes part. Many festivals have their origins in religion or legend and may date back hundreds, or even thousands, of years. 

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, or Carnival, celebrations are held in towns and cities all over the world on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a period when Christians used to fast for 40 days. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice eating rich, fatty foods before fasting. In England, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, a day on which pancakes are a traditionally eaten. Foods made with sugar, fat and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America.

Mardi Gras parade in New OrleansMardi Gras parade in New OrleansMardi Gras festivals often involve colourful street processions with bright clothes, music and dancing. In New Orleans, celebrations last for about two weeks, involving parades (known as krewes) and balls. Float riders traditionally toss throws into the crowds, such as strings of colourful plastic beads, cups and Moon Pies (small toys).

Carnaval at the Sambadrome in RioCarnaval at the Sambadrome in Rio

Rio Carnival

The largest festival gathering in the world is the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage in which worshippers gather to bathe in a sacred river. In 2013, 100 million people attended the festival in Allahabad in India.

© 2020 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile