Carnival ideas from around the world

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Rio Carnival Parade 2012
Rio Carnival Float 2012
Trinidad Carnival
New Orleans Mardi Gras 2012
Pancakes - England 2012

Yesterday, we published an appeal for ideas to reinvigorate Audlem's Carnival as it's the 200th anniversary of the first Wake or Carnival in the village in 1812.

We thought, in part to brighten up a February day, we would bring you some photographic ideas sent in by our international correspondents from around the world from local celebrations in the past week.

#Rio de Janeiro
First to Rio, for the grearest Carnival in the world. And just in case you think we are simply showing titillating photos, we have deliberately chosen a dancer who actually has some clothes on!

Costume making occupies whole neighbourhoods of the Brazilian city for months before-hand while floats galore are assembled.

Fortunately, if Audlem were to host a Carnival on a larger scale this year, the natural contours of the St James' Church mound means the village will not have to go the same lengths as Rio did building the special seating for the spectators at their parade — see our second photo.

People pay a small fortune for the best seats and the city enjoys a tourist boom like no other.

The Audlem Carnival committee are keen to reintroduce floats this year on 4th June. We understand the British insurance industry and Health & Safety rules, regulations and risk assessments are a barrier that has to be negotiated in England.

We wonder how the Rio floats — see our third photo and often built by amongst the poorest commnunities on earth in the Favela slums that cling on to Rio's precipitous slopes — handle their insurance premiums...or not!

#Trinidad
Trinidad, just off the Venezualan coast in the Caribbean, rivals Rio in the Carnival stakes. Your editor attended its small brother Carnival in neighbouring Tobago two years ago and was much impressed by the volume of sound. Every third float carried 60 to 70 massive speakers, all cranked up to maximum volume, just in case you've never heard ska and reggae music before and are still five miles away from the parade.

With its massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music and unparalleled stamina for partying, Trinidad's Carnival rivals Rio as the greatest show on earth. It is a time for release and everyone is invited to join the party.

#Mardi Gras
New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras — or Fat Tuesday — in style too with fantastic parades through the city. And in some French-influenced USA cities the celebrations can go for weeks on end until all stops with the arrival of Lent.

Mardi Gras is music, parades, picnics, floats, excitement ... and one big holiday in New Orleans! Everyone is wearing purple, green, and gold; and adorned with long beads caught from the beautiful floats. They sit on the ground throwing balls, playing music, having a picnic, and watching the crowds walk by between parades.

#Fasching
Just in case you think it's the heat of February in cities such as Rio and Port au Spain that makes the pre-Lenten celebrations what they are, our fun-loving neighbours in chilly German also know how to celebrate with a three-day and night celebration called Fasching, and a God-sent boost to Germany's breweries.

Sunday night drinking with bands and fancy dress is followed by Rosenmontag where a special white veal sausage has to be consumed before noon with copious quantities of mustard, again to a special recipe only eaten on Rosenmontag, pretzels and, of course, lots more beer.

Elsewhere in Europe, Sweden and Belgium have a fun-packed time while Venice goes for it in real style, in masks and with fabulous Carnivale costumes and parties.

#England
Meanwhile, back in England, we prepared for Lent last week in a slightly more restrained way. Few, however, could contain their excitement as the batter was mixed — milk, flour and eggs no less — the lemon cut in half, and all eagerly awaited the sprinkling of a spoonful of sugar over our pancakes, ideally accompanied by a nice cup of tea

Which just goes to prove, we here in England really know how to live life to the full! Strange it hasn't caught on in Rio! 

#Audlem
The Audlem Carnival, this year on 4th June, coincides with the very successful Audlem Music and Arts Festival meaning that the village will be packed in early June, all the more reason for a very special Carnival this year. It's also the Diamond Jubilee day, only the second to have been celebrated in England.

If you would like to be involved, or simply have an idea that might appeal, please call Gwen Moss on 01270 811467 or send your idea to editor@audlem.org and we will pass it on.