Carnival – celebrations across the Algarve

parade at Loulé carnival

Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, is the feast day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. It is celebrated 47 days before Easter and as the date of Easter changes so does that of Shrove Tuesday

This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on February 21 and, as most people in Portugal know, it is also the last day of Carnival.

There are several theories as to when and why Carnival began in Portugal. What is known is that a document, signed by King Afonso III in 1252, mentions Entrudo.

Entrudo, which means entrance, refers to the religious calendar and alludes to the beginning of the leaner days prior to Easter. Today, many still call Carnival Entrudo.

Carnival, or Entrudo, is a time of excess and revelry – to feast and to make merry.

This year many parades will be enjoyed across the Algarve. Taking place since 1899, Moncarapacho is expecting large numbers to celebrate its “Battle of the Flowers”.

There is no theme to this parade and floats are decorated using paper flowers. As usual with carnivals, there will be street entertainment with the parade starting at 3pm on February 19 and 21 – entrance is free.

Perhaps the most well-known Algarve carnival parade takes place in Loulé. Entrance is €2 with all proceeds going to local charities.

There are three parades taking place; February 19, 20 and 21 starting at 3pm each day and travelling along Avenida José da Costa Mealha.

Armação da Pêra is celebrating Carnival with the theme “Television”. Again, entrance is free, the parades will take place on February 19 and 21 starting at 3pm from Holiday Inn Algarve.

Moving west, Odiáxere will hold its children’s carnival on February 19 at 3pm in Largo do Moinho. There will be facepainting, inflatables, rides, street entertainment and much more.

On February 21 again at 3pm, the parade begins in earnest. Entrance will be €2.50 and children under 12 can enter free of charge.

For information on other public holidays in the Algarve click here. Want to do more whilst in Loulé? Search here for suggestions.

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