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    Five Things You Didn't Know About The Carnival

    Who doesn't love Carnival? It's just like Halloween, except adults won't look creepy and weird if they join in on the fun! There's less candy, to be sure, but in some parts of the world there's plenty of booze that comes along with the festivities, making it a huge playground for adults. With masks added for good measure.

    1) It may have started out as a religious practice, but it now involves lots of dancing and a marked absence of upper body clothing.There are two things worth noting about the Brazilian Carnival. First, their costumes tend to go from minimalistic to blush-inducing. Second, the amount of beer consumed during the festivities accounts for 80% of Brazil's annual beer consumption. Some cities in Portugal have started importing a few Brazilian traditions, namely the costumes and the samba, all the while seeming to forget that parading down a street with almost no clothes on may make sense in the Brazilian summer, but Carnival in Portugal is in the middle of winter. The Americans seem to agree Carnival is the right time to show some flesh, and it's a common practice in the New Orleans Mardi Gras for some women to bare their breasts in exchange for beads and trinkets.

    2) In some places, it goes on and on and on!The Portuguese Carnival lasts 2 days and the Brazilian one goes on to last a week. But neither of these Carnivals holds a candle to the Uruguayan Carnival, which lasts 40 days. Uruguayans sure know how to party! Their Carnival is a blend of European parade styles mixed with elements from Angolan Benguela and Bantu cultures thrown in for good measure.

    3) If you go out, you can get soaked!Water battles are an important element in several Carnivals. They feature in some Portuguese cities, in Venezuela and in Peru. Unfortunately, the Peruvian Carnival tends to be less 'Here, let me soak you in a spirit of innocent revelries and laughter' and more 'Here, let me soak you while robbing you blind and possibly assaulting you'. The Peruvian Carnival has experienced violent undertones since the 19th century and is best avoided altogether. The violence escalated to the point where in 2010, the government imposed penalties of up to 8 years in jail for anyone participating in violent acts during the carnival, or trying to coerce others to participate.

    4) You can't see my face, so for all you know we are social equals.The Venetian Carnival is famous for its beautifully painted masks. Originally, these masks played an important part in a city that enforced a strict social hierarchy. The anonymity granted by the use of these masks was a way for people of different social backgrounds to mingle freely.

    5) If it can be picked up, it can be thrown!I t's a good thing not all Carnivals end up like the one in Peru, but some academics have pointed out that many elements in Carnivals around the world are forms of ritualized aggression, institutionalized violence and politic opposition. The water battles are an example, but they're not the only one. In some Spanish cities, people throw candies at one another, in Portugal people throw water balloons, bags filled with saw dust, and flower. In Belgium, blood oranges are the weapon of choice, and in Ecuador they like to add eggs to the mix. If you feel like discovering any of these charming countries, remember that Auto Europe offers you the some of the lowest rates in over 8,000 locations worldwide, including car hire in Rio de Janeiro or car hire in Venice. Are there any other carnival fun facts you'd like to share with our readers? Leave them in the comments :)

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