Carnival Celebrations in The Caribbean, North America and South America – Annual Events

Brazil Samba Girl - Facebook Picture By
Brazil Samba Girl – Facebook Picture By

Carnivals in the Caribbean region, North and South America are the most popular and largest in the world. If you want to experience a carnival of your life or the mother of all carnivals, then pack your bags, book a hotel and get a flight ticket to South America, destination Brazil or take a vacation in The Caribbean, destination Trinidad and Tobago. The carnivals in these regions will give you a taste of what a true and authentic carnival looks like. The people there are so enthusiastic and passionate when it comes to festival celebrations. It’s an occasion to celebrate, dance, listen to music and party. All of this will be going on in the streets. Brazil has even built a sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, a safe place for revelers, dedicated to hosting samba events and performances. After all, who in the world can resist the charm of Samba girls dressed in sexy costumes?

A lot of world famous carnivals are concentrated in the Americas, the following is a list of cultural carnival events in the Caribbean, South America and North America:


North America and the Caribbean



Aruba Carnaval – Costume extravaganza, street parties, parades and crowning of carnival queen. Date: January/February. The 2015 event is from 27 January to 17 February. Starts the night before Lent.


Antigua Carnival – Date: 31 July to the first week of August on a Tuesday.

Barbuda Carnival – The other name for this extravaganza is Caribana. Date: May/June


San Pedro Fiesta de Carnaval – A three day event that lasts a week, featuring street dancers, revelers painting each other, flour throwing, and mobile bands. Date: February. It begins 3 days before Ash Wednesday. The Town Council of San Pedro participates in the organization of the event. The event will run from 7 Feb to 18 Feb in 2015.


Roseau Carnival – A major carnival in the city of Roseau in Dominica. Date: February. The celebrations are held for two days on a Monday and Tuesday. The 2015 event is scheduled for 16 and 17 February.

Dominican Republic

La Vega Carnival – A big carnival featuring costumed revelers and music. Date: February. During February, parades in different cities are held every week on a Sunday.

San Pedro de Macoris Carnival – A well known parade of grand scale, with groups of street dancers and revelers. Date: February


Port-au-Prince Carnival – A significantly large carnival in the region, the local people call it Kanaval. Date: The preliminary celebrations take off in January and the largest celebrations begin in February. Ash Wednesday is the final day of celebrations. In 2015, the main event takes place from 15 to 17 February.

Jacmel Kanaval – Date: Jan/Feb

Aux Cayes Kanaval – Date: Jan/Feb


Bacchanal – Bacchanal describes the main Jamaican carnival held in cities around the country, mainly Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Date: The carnival takes place during Easter every year.

 Puerto Rico

Carnaval de Loiza – revelers with masks dance in the streets. Date: July

Carnaval de Ponce – It’s a very old festival that has been held for over 200 years. Date: Celebrated in the city of Ponce, this is the main party in the country that starts 8 days before Ash Wednesday. Ponce Carnaval 2015 was held between 11 and 17 Feb and it happened to be the 157th event since its inception.


Trinidad and Tobago


Port of Spain Carnival – One of the biggest and famous celebrations in the world, which has been celebrated for over 160 years, the event is filled with contests, costumed dancers, music and partying. The Carnival King and Queen are chosen, prizes are given for the best costumes. Date: The 2016 event is planned for 8 to 9 February. The 2015 event was held on 16 and 17 February. You should note that these are the two days of the main celebrations, otherwise a lot of festival parties and events take place several months in advance of the two days of celebrations before Ash Wednesday.



Mazatenango Carnival – In this city, people engage in feasting, food is plentful, music and games are played. Date: February / the feast lasts 8 days.



La Ceiba Carnival – This city in Central America boasts the largest festival in the region. Date: May. The event is held on the fourth Saturday of the month of May.


Carnival of Bluefields – The Palo de Mayo Carnival is celebrated in this region along the Caribbean coast, and it takes a full month. Date: The whole month of May comes alive with dancing groups, parades and marches. Each day is a party, until a climax is reached towards the month end.

Carnival of Managua – Streets are lined with spectators while dance groups perform. Unlike Bluefields, the celebration here is very short, lasting only 2 days. Date: The 2015 event takes place on 24 March.



Mazatlan Carnival – Residents celebrate for six days. One of the four biggest carnivals in Mexico, which has been hosted since 1898. Date: The 115th carnival [2013] took place between 7 and 14 February.

Carnival of Veracruz – The location has one of the biggest stadiums which hosts performances during festivities. The city is flooded with visitors each year prior to the carnival, who spill out into the streets during the celebrations. This lavish event provides visitors with 7 days of fun and extravaganza. Date: Celebrated 7 days in advance before Ash Wednesday.

Planned Events for Veracruz:

The 2015 event is planned for 11 to 17 February

The 2016 event is planned for 3 to 9 February

The 2017 event is planned for 22 to 28 February

The 2018 event is planned for 7 to 13 February



Las Tablas Carnaval – this small but magnificent town hosts an annual event called Desfile de las Mil Polleras that features beautiful women parading in traditional costumes. Date: Desfile de las Mil Polleras occurs in January. The main carnival in town is a 3 day event that ends on a Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The 2015 event is planned for 14 to 17 February. The 2016 event is scheduled for 6 to 9 February.

Carnival in Panama City – A 4 day festive celebration that takes place in the capital city of Panama, featuring day partying, drinking, dancing, parades and late night reveling. Date: Celebrations start just before Ash Wednesday on a Friday. Sunday features the pollera parade of Panamanian women in traditional attire.Apparently, the biggest celebrations of them all is on a Tuesday, Monday is relaxed and low-key, while Wednesday marks the end with a symbolical “burial” at the beach. The month of celebrations is February where Shrove Tuesday usually occurs. Carnival Tuesday also known as Shrove Tuesday falls on 17 February in 2015 and on 9 February in 2016.

The planned dates:

Feb 14 to 17 for 2015

Feb 6 to 9 for 2016

Feb 23 to 26 for 2017

Feb 10 to 13 for 2018

March 2 to 5 for 2019

Feb 22 to 25 for 2020



Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival – The country will be holding its first carnival to get in line with other Caribbean countries. Date: May. The first ever carnival celebration will take place from 7 to 9 May, 2015



Toronto Caribana – This is the most popular carnival in Canada that is celebrated in Toronto, with over a million people attending the festivities. The parade has Caribbean roots and it offers 3 weeks of fun to celebrate and enjoy the Caribbean culture. Date: July/August. The 2015 event is scheduled for 7 July, culminating in 2 August.


United States


New Orleans Mardi Gras – The most popular carnival event in the USA, which is celebrated in New Orleans. Date: Mardi Gras 2016 is scheduled for 9 February. Visitors who want to see the biggest parades are advised to be in the city before the 5th of February.Mardi Gras 2015 falls on 17 February. The traditional celebrations start a fortnight earlier before Mardi Gras, so the 2015 event will start on 31 January.


South America



Gualeguaychu Carnival – Samba dance festival. Date: January/February. The 2015 event takes place on 10 January to 28 February. The event is held on Saturdays throughout the period.

Corrientes Carnival – Samba dance festivity. The city is known as the capital of carnival. Date: January/February.



Oruro Carnival – A 10 day festivity also known as the La Diablada Carnival which means “Dance of the Devils” features a 4 km procession filled with dance and music. Date: February. The entrada takes place on a Saturday just before Ash Wednesday



Sao Paulo Carnival – A samba dance extravaganza which takes place at Anhembi sambadrome, streets are filled with parties, carnival balls take place in clubs and bars. Date: February. The 2016 sambadrome gathering will take place on 13 February on a Friday. There are two main events taking place on Friday and Saturday.

Salvador Carnival – [Bahian Carnival] – A very big 6-day street party attracting over 2 million participants, featuring big parades in the Barra/Ondina and Campo Grande/Avenida. People dance in the streets or watch from the sides. Dates: February. The 2016 street party will take place on 4 to 10 February.

Rio Carnival – If you were to invite aliens for a carnival on planet Earth, then you would invite them to Rio. This is the most popular cultural extravaganza, the biggest in the world which runs for 5 days.Rio de Janeiro is the world’s capital of street samba and carnival. Over 500,000 visitors from other countries make their way to Rio each year to join the millions of locals who revel in their cultural celebration. Date: February. The 2016 event is planned for 5 to 10 February. Friday is always the starting day, which opens the official celebrations.

Note – Brazil holds hundreds of carnivals in almost every town and region,



Pasto Carnival – [Blacks and Whites Carnival] Different races gather to celebrate, dressed in masks and painting each other with black and white paint. It’s a 2-day event with historical roots dating back to the slave days, when slaves were allowed to party by their masters. The first day is called the El Dia de los Negros (Day of the Blacks); the second day is called El Dia de los Blancos (Day of the Whites).Dates: January. The 2015 festive event starts on 28 December 2014 and ends on 7 January 2015.However, the official days are 5 and 6 January.

Cartagena Carnival – Over a million revelers gather in the port of Cartagena to dance, party and just have fun. A beauty pageant is also held during the event to select Miss Colombia. It’s purely an independence celebration with lots of fireworks and parades. Date: November. Celebrations start on 13 November, Independence Day and end on 17 November when Miss Colombia is crowned.

Bogota Carnival – This is a 2-day event to celebrate the founding of the Hispanic nation. Simon Bolivar Park is usually the venue for celebrations but people also take to the streets to enjoy performances by local artists and dance troupes. Dates: Celebrations are held on 5 and 6 August every year.

Popayan Carnival – This religious town holds the Semana Santa procession to commemorate Easter. Date: Easter



Guaranda Carnival – Offers 14 days of street celebrations and parties where revelers drink chichi, and traditionally brewed liquor. The celebrations begin with the Taita carnaval, the official opening which gives way to long public celebrations. Date: February

Ambato Carnival – Also known as el carnaval de Ambato in Spanish, this is a 4 day festival that includes dances, parades, folklore, music and exhibitions. It’s the most colorful celebration in the country that is preferred by travelers. According to reports, the carnival is held to commemorate the fatal 1949 earthquake that destroyed the town and killed approximately 6,000 residents. Date: February/March


French Guiana

Cayenne Carnival – A very big carnival where people gather to dance to exotic music and revel in costumes. Date: Starts early January up to February. The parades and parties are held every Sunday throughout the festival season.

Kourou Carnival – A cultural festival of dance and partying that features a diverse groups from different countries in South America as well as France. People gather to watch parades, drum beats and street performances. Streets are colorful, everyone is partying, glitter is thrown around and dancers are in gear. Date: January/February


Cajamarca Carnival – The city hosts a unique and most popular cultural event in the country. People engage in traditional dance and tree cutting contest which is used to chose a governor for the coming year. Date: The date is flexible. The 2014 event was held on March 1 to 5.

Other places to enjoy carnival in Peru are Iquitos, Puno and Huaraz.


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Carnival Celebrations in Africa, Asia and Europe – Annual Events


Girls at Rio de Janeiro Samba Festival - Facebook Picture By
Girls at Rio de Janeiro Samba Festival – Facebook Picture By

The following is a list of cultural carnival events that are held by different countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Carnivals are festive seasons involving street parties and parades. They are characterized by cultural dances, elaborate costumes, music, revelry and simply having fun. It’s an occasion to go out in the streets and join thousands of fellow residents and tourists taking part in the annual extravaganza. It is also an opportunity to watch beautiful and sexy women in festival attire. Carnivals are the reason why Brazilian Samba women are admired and well known as the most beautiful women in the world. Above all, the event promotes diversity, giving you a broad perspective of the world. It offers a chance to learn about other cultures and explore beautiful traditions that you could never have seen in your life if you didn’t attend the event.


Africa Carnivals

Cape Verde

Festivals in Sao Vicente

  • Sao Vicente Carnival – Date [mid-February] An exotic carnival that begins around the middle of February, 40 days before the beginning of Easter. Largest celebrations are held in Mindelo,the street party starts at 9:00am
  • Sao Vicente Baia Das Gatas Festival – Date [August full moon] A cultural and musical festival that is held on a full moon in August, over a long weekend

Festivals in Boa Vista

  • Boa Vista Day of Santa Isabel Festival – Date [4 July] Municipality Day

Festivals in Sal

  • Nossa Sra De Piedade – Date 15 August
  • Santa Maria Festival – Date 11 to 12 September

Festivals in Santiago

  • Gamboa Festival – Date 17 to 19 May
  • Tabanka – Date June and July

Cape Verde dance and music includes The Morna, The Batuko and The Funana


Victoria Carnival

  • Known as the Carnaval International de Victoria, a 3 day carnival from 24 to 26 April.


Harare Festivals

  • Zimbabwe International Carnival also known as the Harare International Carnival [HIC] takes place from 16-25 May, but the 2015 event date has been moved to September due an International Tourism Expo that will take place in June. The scheduled date is 12 to 19 September.

Victoria Falls Festivals

  • Victoria Falls Carnival – Date 29-31 December



South Africa

Cape Town Carnival – A non-profit carnival held in the middle of March – 14 March



  • Calabar Carnival – lasts a full month from 1 December to 31 December. Launched by Cross River State governor in 2004 to promote Nigerian tourism and hospitality.



Asia Carnivals


  • Kuta Karnival – Takes place in Bali at the Kuta Beach – Date: 9 to 11 September.
  • Solo Batik Carnival – Takes place in the city of Solo also known as Surakarta in Central Java. The carnival began in 2008 – Date: 12 to 14 June.
  • Jember Fashion Carnaval – Takes place in the city of Jember in East java province. Date: 26 to 30 August



  • Goa Carnival – Goa is the only state in India that celebrates carnival or intruz in the local language. It’s a three day event celebrated in the towns of Panaji, Margoa, Mapusa and Vasco da Gama. The Sambalpur carnival is a two-day event.Panaji draws the largest crowd. Date: Celebrated in mid February, from 14 February to 17 February.


  • Tel Aviv Purim Carnival – Celebrated by Jews to observe the day of deliverance from Haman who tried to influence the King of the Persian Empire to commit a genocide of Jews. Date: Usually observed in March at sunset on the Jewish 14th day of Adar.The 2016 event will take place on 24 March and the 2017 event will take place on 12 March. The 2015 event took place on 5 March.



  • Highline Carnival (THC) – Takes place in Geyikbayiri, Antalya. Date: from 14 February to 22 February
  • Balkahorani Carnival – Also known as Apokries is a 3 day Greek carnival that takes place in Turkish cities like Instabul and Tatavla.Date: Starts 3 weeks before Ash Monday in the Greek Orthodox Christian calendar. Ash Monday marks the beginning of the 40 day Lenten fast.


Europe Carnivals


  • Carnival of Binche – Celebrations start 3 days before the start of Lent [Ash Monday], a 40 day fasting period observed in the Orthodox Church. Date: 15 to 17 February 2015, the 2016 event will take place from 7 to 9 February.
  • Carnival of Aalst – Starts 3 days before ‘Clean ’ Wednesday [Another term for Ash Wednesday]

 Bosnia Herzegovina

  • Ljubuski Carnival – Date: February


  • Rijeka Carnival – Held every year before Lent. Date: Starts in late January and ends in early March. The 2016 event runs from 17 January to 10 February. It also features a pageant for Miss Rijeka Carnival.


  • Limassol Carnival – Fun event celebrated for 10 days before Lent (Ash Monday), by Greek Orthodox church. Date: Runs from 12 February [Shrove Thursday] to 22 February.

Czech Republic

  • Masopust Traditional Carnival – Date: Celebrated during Epiphany up to Ash Wednesday according to Orthodox Christian calendar.


  • Nordic Halloween or Fastelavn – Date: A carnival celebrated on a Sunday or Monday preceding Ash Wednesday, Christian Orthodox calendar.


  • Notting Hill Carnival – The largest street carnival in the UK and second largest in the world. This is celebrated by people of Caribbean origin in England, particularly Trinidad and Tobago. Date: 30 to 31 August.



  • Nice Carnival – Date: The 2016 event starts on 13 February and ends on 28 February. Generally the celebrations take place between mid February and end of February or beginning of March.
  • Dunkirk Carnival – Date: Mid January to late March
  • Paris Carnival – Date: July


  • Cologne Karneval – Date: [11 November is the start of carnival season]


  • Patras Carnival – 3 day event. Date: The 2015 event opens on 17 January 2015. Annual event starts on St Anthony Day.


  • Venice Carnival – Date: The 2016 event starts 23 Jan to 9 Feb.
  • Viareggio Carnival – Date: The 2015 event starts 17 February to 17 March
  • Ivrea Carnival – Orange fight. Date: The 2015 event takes place on Tuesday 17 February. The 2016 event falls on 15 February.


  • Nadur Carnival – Date: Street party happens in the period 13-17 February, and usually starts on 12 February.
  • Valleta Carnival – Date: The 2015 event falls between 12 Feb and 17 Feb
  • Floriana Carnival – Date: 13 to 17 Feb


  • Rhineland Carnaval – 3 day event held in Maastricht, the capital city of Limburg province. Date: Happens 15 to 18 February in 2015, otherwise in the month of February.


  • Torres Vedras Carnival – Date: 13 to 18 February
  • Ovar Carnival – Date: Every year on Fat Tuesday, February or March
  • Sesimbra Carnival – includes Samba dance parades. Date: February
  • Madeira Carnival – A one week celebration. Date: 3 to 10 February
  • Loule Carnival – Streets get jammed with revelers. Date: The 2015 event runs from 14 Feb to 17 Feb.
  • Nazare Carnival – Date: Shrove Tuesday


  • Las Palmas Carnival – 500 year old celebration that goes on for a month filled with galas and dancing. A very large carnival after Rio de Janeiro.To enter the galas, visitors pay between 10 and 15 euros per individual. The main spectacle of the extravaganza is the Gala Queens competition. Date: Will run from 3 Feb to 21 Feb in 2016.
  • Sitges Carnival – Date: The 2015 extravaganza takes place between 12 and 18 February.
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival – Capital of Canary Islands attracts a million participants to the event each year. The main highlight of the event is when the Carnival Queen is chosen.Date: The 2015 celebration starts 8 Feb t 22 Feb. The 2016 extravaganza starts 31 Jan to 4 Feb. [January/February/March].


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