Carnival celebrations around the world

Vibrant music, zesty dancing, bright colors and more fun and absurdity than a lot of people can handle. Carnival anyone? For the pre-Lent partying season our minds tend to automatically think of New Orleans and Rio, but the event is in fact celebrated around the world. A few places to spice up a dreary winter before Lent kicks in:

Dominica: A small and happy island almost hidden in the Lesser Antilles, Dominica is not to be forgotten during Carnival season. Here, the local Creole expression, More Fete Less Twaka (more party less talk), rings true. Soca competitions, a Carnival beer garden, some street jams and a Miss Dominica Pageant. What more could you want from an early winter Caribbean vacation?

Munich: The Munich Carnival, or “Fasching,” is often referred to as Germany’s “Fifth Season,” when the local population truly lets loose. People crowd the streets, pretzel vendors run abound and beer runs freely. Think Oktoberfest but with confetti, masquerade balls and elaborate parades.

Venice: This year’s theme, Sensation: 6 sensations for 6 neighborhoods, says it all. Venice has been enjoying its celebrations for centuries, and through the years it has evolved into a well-known time for wild festivities. The main feature: masks. If you don’t have your own, not to worry, there are plenty of mask makers throughout the city ready to take your order.

Rijeka: Croatia’s biggest carnival was once one of the most important in Europe. Around 150 carnival groups from a dozen different countries attract over 120,000 visitors. One of the days is designated as children’s carnival, attracting 6,000 little ones. And don’t forget to check out the Zvoncari groups: men dressed up in animal skins, complete with horned masks, frantically dancing to the eerie sound of clanging bells.

Goa: India might not be the first place you would expect to find Carnival, but introduced by the Portuguese who ruled Goa for over 500 years, the celebration is still enjoyed today. Although primarily a Christian event, the Goa Carnival has absorbed many Hindu traditions, making it an extravagant event a true sight for the eyes.