(after reading this entry in English, we recommend that you read it in Spanish)
Carnival is a celebration with both religious and pagan origins. It’s related to Lent, the forty days of spiritual preparation before Easter. Its pagan origins are related to the festival of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, and other Roman festivals. Carnival is celebrated between February and March; the date changes because it has to begin on a Thursday, known as jueves lardero or jueves gordo (Fat Thursday). It ends on the following Tuesday, which is called Carnival Tuesday.This festival is called Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in France, the United States (especially New Orleans) and Brazil; in the UK and other English-speaking countries this festival is called Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.
The origins of the word “carnival” may be the Latin carnelevarium, the prohibition of eating meat during Lent, or it may be related to carrus navalis (boat on wheels) that carried Bacchus during the Roman Bacchanalia festival.
This celebration varies a lot; each city has its own characteristics and customs, but in general it involves costumes, music, parades and street parties.