WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Monday, 20 February 2012

"Carnival time"

The Brazilian Carnival and the art of Samba. Brilliant bright feathery costumes of semi naked dancing girls, have taken over in many of the big carnival parades in Portugal.!

For me its very south American . Old cultural traditions and ceremonies are being left by the wayside.. Its sad really. We are European. How I would love to see these old traditions re kindled and brought to life again in other parts of the country.
Amazingly it is so in the north. "The men from The Beira's"
I have always loved their old traditional stories and tales at Carnival time told by the village folk and friends from that region.

All sorts of amazing tales.. of tall strange masked men who come from the hills,with strange faces and chanting with loud voices and jingling bells. Jumping high at the sight of the villagers.. They come in the dark of night ..tall and scary.
.. Below and above traditional masked men , dressed with masks, that seem to resemble strange animals. ..The northern people are proud of their old traditions. It makes me happy to know they still continue every year this same age old ancient ceremony. Fine figures they make. One can only imagine them peering around the door on a cold frosty winters night.. when all together a very impossing sight indeed.

Its a holiday for many here in Portugal, and the children have been parading in their costumes and enjoying fun times together.
Tomorrow- the floats will be going through the towns and villages. Its a happy time for all. The beginning of Lent on the christian calander.


  1. I also think it is sad when old ways are lost. I am glad some still remember and keep them alive. Thanks for always leaving such kind comments. Hope you have a beautiful week!

  2. The connection between Portugal and Brazil doesn't surprise me, Val! The masks are a bit scary, aren't they?

    In Italy and in all of Europe (except the UK!) we have Carnival at this time of year. It's mainly a pagan festival, which the Church somehow managed to connect with religion (don't ask me about this, as I'm not an expert)

    Our traditional costumes, or "maschere" as we call them,(Arlecchino, Pulcinella, Ballanzone, etc.) are connected with "La Commedia dell'Arte" which was a series of comedies all written in the Venetian dialect. Each character (mask) represents an Italian region and a vice (how surprising!) Pulcinella, of course IS Naples!

    Carnival in Italy is not at all scary... it's connected with partying, eating and having fun with friends. Children go to school (tomorrow) dressed up and adults have fancy dress parties. Any excuse...

    There is food connected with Carnival: each region a different sweet dish. No pancakes: in Bari we have panzerotti (a kind of fried pasty, sweet or savoury, very good, which I will make, sometime, and post on my blog)

    All in all, our Carnival is fun!

    Your post was very interesting. I learnt new things, so: thank you for that!





  3. Through history Brazil is connected to Portugal.
    Here too Anna, the streets are full of happy people and floats .. its party time..
    I personaly myself dont like the outside influences.
    I love tradition and culture.
    All weekend there have been parties in the village..
    The children dressed in their little costumes..
    good fun for all.
    Thanks Anna.. I can imagine Carnival in Italy.. I hope one day to go to Venice at Carnival time.. its beautiful.


  4. In my Wild Eden,
    Wishing you a happy week too..
    Yes its part of our past, to keep up cultural ways.
    Carnival (the beginning of lent) Tomorrow it starts
    Shrove tuesday... then ash Wednesday.. Soon it will be Easter.. where does the time go too.

  5. Val: I love to see the old traditions carried into these modern times. In the town of Nevada City, which is close to me, they celebrate Mardi Gras every year with a parade. There are crazy costumes, a lot of bead throwing, floats and one of the highlights is the Merry Widows Society group. I'm sorry to say I don't know the connection of the Merry Widows to Mardi Gras. Maybe it's just a local thing. It's very colorful and a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing. Judy at GoldCountryCottage

  6. Yes, Madi gras is the same.. coloured confetti thrown around.. and bright costumes ..some groups with themes.. It is great that the old traditions also are kept up.
    thanks for your comments Judy.. I will be off to see the floats tomorrow.

  7. Unfortunately many traditions are being lost the world over which is sad.
    Thank you for sharing these great pictures Val, they are another insight into your beautiful country.

  8. Thanks Annie,
    I am glad that some regions still maintain their old traditions.. they make up part of the history..

    Send regards to you there downunder..


  9. I have visited Brazil, but not at Carnival time. There is so much exchange of culture between Brazil and Portugal. The pavements in Rio de Janiero are all done with mosaics, a legacy skill left to them by their Portugese colonises.
    Carnival must be great fun to watch, and participate in, and it seems to herald warmer weather.
    Lovely post and images Val.

  10. I did not know about Carnival in Portugal. Yes, it is sad when old traditions are swept away - I know what you mean. The masks are artful and scary. It's a kind of admiration and revulsion. Your photos illustrate it very well. Lent will also start here. Since 16 years Paul and I do not eat meat during that time and will drink no wine. It is always a bit of a challenge for the cook! WIshing you a good day! xxxx Christa

  11. The History of Brazil and the portuguese colonization , is very interesting Rosemary.
    We have a lot of Brazilians living here.. Brazil also has strong connections with Germany and Italy.. Both nationalities Immigrating to Brazil before the 2nd world war..
    Now Brazil is a melting pot of many nationalities.
    It is a great Country.. I loved "Bahia" and the Bahianas..
    I am sure that you noticed the churches in Brazil..built in Portuguese 17th century style.. Christianity being intergrated with their voodo customs.. Unique.
    Thanks for the lovely comments Rosemary..
    I found out today..that we will not be having floats.. only in a village some miles away.. this is due to the monitary situation here in Portugal.. its a shame..

  12. Hi Christa.

    Carnival is another name given for the entrance into Lent. Most of the festivities are pagan and come from hundreds of years past.. Country people..kill the pig and store it in salt.. they have wheat in their cilos and cellar boxes.. food is plenty,there is no harvesting until end of spring. Then during Lent Its a time of abstinence..for catholics.
    You have the same in Switzerland.. and most catholic countries. Faschnacht..!!(think its spelt like that).. I have enjoyed many good nights with the "glockenspeel" and glug wine in Lucern..also not sure about spelling .. and the children all dressed up,lots of fun.

  13. We do have similar traditions in Greece that are still "in action" but of course Samba has made its enter too.

    I miss carneval very much! There is not carneval here in Norway...

  14. Its a happy day Carnival.. our village was abscent of floats this year, due to the crisis.. but the children and the folks were out with their costumes.. all bright and colourful. Yes, greece has the same too.. you must miss Greece Demie.


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