Carnival (Karneval, Carnivale, Carnevale and Carnaval in German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish languages) is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during January and February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, masque and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.
Carnival is a festival traditionally held in Roman Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. Protestant areas usually do not have carnival celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events. The Brazilian Carnaval is one of the best known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events. These include the Carnevale of Venice, Italy, the German Rhineland carnivals, centering on the Cologne carnival; the carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; of Torres Vedras, Portugal; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rijeka, Croatia; Barranquilla, Colombia; Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. In the United States, the famous Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, date back to French and Spanish colonial times.