THE OLDEST CARNIVAL IN PORTUGAL!
The flags were flying and the town was buzzing when we arrived on the third day of the Loulé Carnival. Steeped in more than a century of history the Carnaval is one of the must-see events of the Algarve calendar …. the riot of colour, vibrancy and spectacle is not to be missed even if the music can be deafening at times.
The theme for 2018 was “Carnaval Summit de Loulé”, a parody of the Lisbon Web Summit. But if you did miss it, here’s a little collaborative snapshot produced by Her Outdoors, Sundance and son of Sundance.
The Loulé Carnival has been held for more than a 100 years and was originally a pagan festival to herald the new spring. Carnival nowadays is celebrated predominantly by Catholics in the lead up to the start of Shrovetide (pre-Lent), the traditional Christian time for fasting.
The festivities these days are now mainly based on the style of the Brazilian Samba. However, the history of the event chronicles much mischief, offering people the opportunity to settle old scores, “by throwing cream pastries, eggs, flour and sandbags” designed to hurt or at least get the others dirty. There was also some elements of violence. including one person who burnt down a rival’s workshop!
The present day Carnival owes much to the Carnation Revolution of 1975 which got rid of the repressive system in place and opened up a more liberal climate in which the arts were able to flourish. Loulé Carnaval however, whilst embracing a style akin to Brazilian Samba, retains the essence of its historical traditions, focussing on political and “celebrity” caricatures and parodies. Among the characters parodied this year are Cristiano Ronaldo and his Golden Balls; Donald Trump and his Mexican Wall, Valdimir Putin hosting the 2018 World Cup, and Angela Merkel, dancing with the new Eurogroup president, Mário Centeno.