Loulé Carnaval 2013

The oldest Carnaval in Portugal? Well we had to go and find out what all the fuss was about!

The shops have been awash with carnival outfits and wigs – the Portuguese seem to adore their Carnaval weekend and Loulé Carnaval is advertised as the biggest and best on the Algarve. So, armed with cameras, some friends and a carnival mood – alongside the most amazing sunshine and hot weather on Saturday – we arrived at Loulé (and you need to arrive early as parking is almost impossible later on!)

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #001

The Carnaval itself starts at 3pm, and there was quite a queue for the tickets to enter the segregated roads – but 2 Euros for an adult ticket seemed great value.

The crowds soon gathered and it became very busy by the time everything started – the floats are all enormous and very professional – with hours and hours of work going into each one. They are pulled by tractors along the main street in a big circuit – it took over an hour for them all to pass us by – and apparently they go round three times! 

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0013

The theme of the Carnaval this year was ‘Entroikados’ and it was a very political theme!

Loulé Carnaval 2013 Brochure

The free brochure is well worth picking up as it explained each float – in Portuguese and English – as it went past us.

Political messages and statements abound – this float below was typical of many:

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0025

The leaders of the ruling coalition – Pedro Passos Coelho and Paulo Portas sit together on top of the tank, whilst the Defense Minister, Aguiar Branco, attempts to protect the nation with a slingshot – a direct reference to the recent Defence spending cuts in Portugal.

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0021

Not all of the floats are political though – the Garden of Eden passed us by – although I did find Eve a rather scary looking creature! Perhaps that had something to do with the giant toadstool in her garden?!

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0022

It felt very safe and the floats passed by very close to us – and with all the streamers, music, dancing, and carnival atmosphere it was great fun – and very noisy!

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #004

The lovely thing about the Carnaval is that most of the children – and quite a few adults! – dress up and really enjoy themselves. This little girl was totally wrapped up in everything that was passing by, and collecting all the streamers and glitter that landed around us:

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0017

Every float and dance troupe had children enjoying themselves and dancing and many of their costumes were very elaborate affairs – these were walking with the Bombeiros float:

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0016

Politics continued through the afternoon as a theme – here you can see Troika being illustrated by the wealthy literally squeezing the money out of ‘Joe Doe’ – the poor man on the street:

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0015

My favourite figures were those of  ‘The Puppet of Europe’ with the Finance Minister, Vitor Gaspar, pulling the strings of ‘Joe Doe’ surrounded by cowboys …

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0023

All overlooked by the beady eye of Angela Merkel:

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0024

The mixture of political satire, music, dancing and party streamers seems to sum up the mood of the Carnaval – the austerity measures are biting hard and severely affecting the average Portuguese worker – and yet still the people are able to come out and party – there’s even time for a quick Conga!

Loulé Carnaval 2013 #0014

There are so many pictures we could have shared with you – so the rest are below in a slideshow for you to enjoy – just click on any of the images to start the show:

Hope that has put you in a carnival mood wherever you are!

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19 Responses to Loulé Carnaval 2013

  1. Gallivanta says:

    Great fun. I particularly like the float of Angela Merkel.

  2. oasien says:

    Très beau poème.

  3. sami velosos says:

    Lovely photos of a great day out. I always enjoyed Carnival when I lived in Portugal. Pity they don’t celebrate Carnival in Australia.

  4. Valentina says:

    Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing with us.

  5. Matthew says:

    Fantastic photos of some amazing moments in this years Loulé Carnaval ! I’ve even posted it on our facebook page, thank you. http://www.facebook.com/divinehomeportugal

  6. This carnival is just so fascinating to me! There is nothing remotely like it in the United States. All the political lampooning is just great and I can imagine stirs a lot of debate and conversation. And then nudity, or near nudity! Of course that would NEVER fly over here. LOL! I really enjoyed the opportunity to see the photos and learn something about your wonderful region. 🙂

    • Admin says:

      thanks! and yes it does cut a fine line – in more ways than one! it’s a bit ‘mardi gras’ and Notting Hill Carnival but with more children and families! and such a colourful spectacle it’s great!

  7. Pingback: Why the Algarve is more than just a great beach destination

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