Carnaval, Madri Gras, & the Bible

Carnaval is Not Endorsed in the Bible


Next Tuesday marks Mardi Gras and the end of the season known as “carnaval” (which is several days to many weeks long depending upon the culture).  Essentially the “carnival season” is a time of having parties and indulging in practices that certain Catholics believe that they should give up on Ash Wednesday for the duration of Lent.

Here is one report about it:

Although the origins of Carnaval are shrouded in mystery, some believe the fest began as a pagan celebrationof spring’s arrival sometime during the Middle Ages. The Portuguese brought the celebration to Brazil in the 1500s, but it took on a decidedly local flavor by adopting Indian costumes and African rhythms. The word itself probably derives from the Latin carne vale,” or goodbye meat,” a reference to the Catholic tradition of giving up meat (and other fleshly temptations) during Lent…(

The origens of this are not a complete mystery as the sixth edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia:

Carnival communal celebration, especially the religious celebration in Catholic countries that takes place just before Lent…

One of the first recorded instances of an annual spring festival is the festival of Osiris in Egypt; it commemorated the renewal of life brought about by the yearly flooding of the Nile. In Athens, during the 6th cent. BC, a yearly celebration in honor of the god Dionysus was the first recorded instance of the use of a float.

It was during the Roman Empire that carnivals reached an unparalleled peak of civil disorder and licentiousness. The major Roman carnivals were the Bacchanalia, the Saturnalia, and the Lupercalia. In Europe the tradition of spring fertility celebrations persisted well into Christian times, where carnivals reached their peak during the 14th and 15th cent.

Because carnivals are deeply rooted in pagan superstitions and the folklore of Europe, the Roman Catholic Church was unable to stamp them out and finally accepted many of them as part of church activity (

Essentially, this is a pagan holiday that some Catholics originally adopted as a compromise to keep members in certain areas.

Despite its origins, many Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and others will participate in the revelries associated with carnival.

Essentially Carnaval is a time when some believe that they can indulge to excess as they will need to give up some of those excesses if they observe a time called Lent.

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” and is the day before Ash Wednesday.  Some seem to believe that they need to excessively indulge prior to a religious season of some type of abstinence.

The popularity of carnaval has spread from outside of Brazil, Venice, and New Orleans as many look for any excuse for a party.  And it would seem that most who attend such parties are not that interested in actually its “religious” connection.

As an example of its growth, here are just two news items of carnaval parties from other areas in the USA:

Ready for blastoff! San Diego Brazil Carnival

A raucous party promises to be even hotter this year


Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

Whether or not you observe Lent — the six weeks of fasting and penitence before Easter — you can join in the revelry that ushers it in.

Kicking off the lineup of local events is the San Diego Brazil Carnival at 4th&B…

It’s time to party like you’re in Rio

Posted: February 11, 2010
Blame this one on Rio: From 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, the Jazz Kitchen will host the biggest Brazilian Carnaval the city has ever seen.Artur Silva, a native of Brazil who grew up with Carnaval in Rio, is organizing the Indy Brazilian Carnaval.
“It’s just a fun, liberating festivity,” he said. “It actually has its basis in Europe.”Portuguese settlers brought the pre-Lenten celebration to Brazil. There, the event took on a South American flavor.

Lent, which also is not of biblical origin, is becoming an excuse essentially for loud and wild parties all over.

And although carnaval is popular in Brazil, Latin America, and elsewhere, it tends to be associated with drunkenness, lust, and other practices that the Bible condemns.

It really should not be considered as something that real Christians would participate in.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Mexico, Central America, South America, and Brazil in Prophecy [Español: México, America Central, Suramérica, y el Brasil en profecíal] [Português: México, América Central, Ámérica do Sul, e Brasil na profecia] What will happen to those of Latin America? Will they have prosperity? Will they cooperate with Europe? Will they suffer in the future? What rule might the various Caribbean nations/territories play?
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil
Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival?
Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival?

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