Ever wonder, amid all the festivities, exactly why you’re celebrating Carnival? The word carnival actually derives from the Latin term Carnevale, meaning “farewell to meat”. Simply put, Carnival has come to represent a sort of ‘last hurrah’ before a long period of self-denial.
Although the holiday most likely began in pre-Christian times with the ancient Roman traditions of Saturnalia and Bacchanalia, Carnival is currently known as the days preceding the Christian period of Lent, consisting of forty days of fasting during which the consumption of animal products was strictly forbidden. As a result, universal feasts were held in order not to waste any perishable foods and drink that were about to be banned, releasing an euphoric atmosphere of giddy over-indulgence before the sober austerity that was about to descend.