Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent.[2] The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent). Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus. Elaborate costumes and masks allow people to set aside their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity.[3] Participants often indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol,[4] meat, and other foods that will be forgone during the g upcoming Lent. Traditionally, butter, milk, and other animal products were not consumed “excessively”; instead, their stock was fully exhausted as to reduce waste. Pancakes, donuts, and other desserts were prepared and eaten for a final time. During Lent, animal products are eaten less, and individuals can make a Lenten sacrifice, thus giving up a particular object or activity of desire. 

Other standard features of Carnival include mock battles such as food fights; expressions of social satire; mockery of authorities; costumes of the grotesque body that display exaggerated features such as large noses, bellies, mouths, phalli, or elements of animal bodies; abusive language and degrading acts; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms.[3][5] 

The term Carnival is traditionally used in areas with a large Catholic presence, as well as in Greece. In historically Evangelical Lutheran countries, the celebration is known as Fastelavn,[6][7] and in areas with a high concentration of Anglicans (Church of England/US Episcopal Church), Methodists, and other Protestants, pre-Lenten celebrations, along with penitential observances, occur on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras.[8] In Slavic Eastern Orthodox nations, Maslenitsa is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. In German-speaking Europe and the Netherlands, the Carnival season traditionally opens on 11/11 (often at 11:11 am). This dates back to celebrations before the Advent season or with harvest celebrations of St. Martin’s Day. 

Other common features of Carnival include mock battles such as food fights; expressions of social satire; mockery of authorities; costumes of the grotesque body that display exaggerated features such as large noses, bellies, mouths, phalli, or elements of animal bodies; abusive language and degrading acts; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms.

The term Carnival is traditionally used in areas with a large Catholic presence, as well as in Greece. In historically Evangelical Lutheran countries, the celebration is known as Fastelavn,[6][7] and in areas with a high concentration of Anglicans (Church of England/US Episcopal Church), Methodists, and other Protestants, pre-Lenten celebrations, along with penitential observances, occur on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. 

The Netherlands, the Carnival season traditionally opens on 11/11 (often at 11:11 am). These dates back to celebrations before the Advent season or with harvest celebrations of St. Martin’s Day. READ MORE