Carnival of Ovar

Carnival of Ovar
Photo: carnaval.ovar.net
Carnival in Portugal is widely celebrated throughout the country, most notably in Torres Vedras, Nazaré, Loulé, Madeira, Sesimbra, and Ovar. The carnival of Ovar is one of Portugal’s most famous carnivals. First held in 1952, it has since become the largest tourist event in the region.

Ovar is a city and municipality in the Aveiro District of Portugal. It is located in the region known as Costa de Prata (Silver Coast), the coastal part of Portugal between the mouth of the Douro near Vila Nova de Gaia and the municipality of Torres Vedras.

Every February, Ovar becomes the carnival capital of the region. The famous carnival began in the early 1950s as a friendly neighborhood celebration known as Dirty Carnival (Carnaval sujo). People got together in the streets and threw flour, soot and eggs at each other, engaging in a mock battle. The first organized carnival celebration took place in 1952.

Today, the carnival of Ovar is one of the largest and most celebrated carnivals in Portugal. It lasts for about a month, attracting thousands of tourists from all over Portugal and abroad. The carnival season usually kicks off in mid-January and culminates on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the last Tuesday before Lent.

The participants of the carnival begin preparations long before the festivities kick off. They spend entire evenings and weekends making elaborate floats, costumes, masks, and props. The carnival of Ovar is one of the few European carnivals to feature Brazil-inspired samba dance groups. Local samba schools spend months rehearsing their routines. The first Ovar carnival to feature samba schools was held in 1983.

The entire carnival season in Ovar is filled with music, dance, games, parties, and various activities, but the most important events of the carnival are parades featuring about 2,000 revelers in vibrant costumes. The carnival of Ovar features two carnival parades held on Carnival Sunday and Fat Tuesday and the so-called Magical Night on Carnival Monday.

On Magical Night, revelers dress in anything imaginable, and anyone is welcome to join the fun, as long as they have some kind of costume. It is the night of music, eating, drinking and wild fun.

Carnival of Ovar

Photo: aalborg Carnival



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