Carnival (see other spellings and names) is a festive season which occurs immediately before the Christian liturgical season of Lent; the main events typically occur during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up in masks during the celebrations, which is an overturning of the normal things of everyday life. The celebrations have long been associated with excessive consumption of alcohol. The term Carnival is traditionally used in areas with a large Catholic makeup. However, the Philippines, despite being a predominantly Roman Catholic country, does not have Carnival celebrations. In historically Lutheran countries, the celebration is known as Fastelavn, and in areas with a high concentration of Anglicans and Methodists, pre-Lenten celebrations, among penitential observances, occur on Shrove Tuesday. In Eastern Orthodox nations, Maslenitsa is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. In German-speaking Europe and the Netherlands, the Carnival season is traditionally opened on 11/11 (often at 11:11 a.m.). This dates back to celebrations before the former longer Advent season or with harvest celebrations of St. Martin’s Day. Rio de Janeiro’s carnival is considered the biggest in the world with approximately two million participants each day. In 2004, Rio’s carnival attracted a record 400,000 foreign visitors. The Lenten period of the Liturgical calendar, the six weeks directly before Easter, was marked by fasting and other pious or penitential practices. Traditionally during Lent, no parties or other celebrations were held, and people refrained from eating rich foods, such as meat, dairy, fats and sugar. In the days before Lent, all rich food and drink had to be disposed of. The consumption of this, in a giant party that involved the whole community, is thought to be the origin of Carnival. While forming an integral part of the Christian calendar, particularly in Catholic regions, many Carnival traditions resemble those that date back to pre-Christian times. The Italian Carnival is sometimes thought to be derived from the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Bacchanalia. The Saturnalia, in turn, may be based on the Greek Dionysia and Oriental festivals. While medieval pageants and festivals such as Corpus Christi were church-sanctioned celebrations, Carnival was also a manifestation of medieval folk culture. Many local Carnival customs are claimed to derive from local pre-Christian rituals, for example, the elaborate rites involving masked figures in the Swabian–Alemannic Fastnacht. However, there is insufficient evidence to establish a direct origin from Saturnalia or other ancient festivals for Carnival. There are no complete accounts of Saturnalia and the shared features of feasting, role reversals, temporary social equality, the wearing of masks and permitted rule-breaking are rather general features that do not necessarily constitute a coherent festival nor links between festivals. Rather than imagine Carnival as having an essence that might be traced to antiquity based on superficial similarities, a different interpretation of these similarities is that people draw on a reservoir of cultural resources to create new forms with different meanings and functions. For example, anthropologist Brad Erickson has pointed out the common, often reversed elements of Easter and Carnival, which form the ritual bookends around Lent. Easter begins with the resurrection of Jesus, followed by a liminal period and ends with rebirth. Carnival reverses this as King Carnival comes to life, followed by a liminal period and ends with his death. Both feasts are calculated by the lunar calendar, and both Jesus and King Carnival may be seen as expiatory figures who make a gift to the people with by the sacrifice of their deaths. In the case of Jesus, the gift is eternal life in heaven and in the case of King Carnival, the acknowledgement that death is a necessary part of the cycle of earthly life. The commonalities between church rituals and imagery and those of Carnival caution against portraying them as oppositional, in spite of the play of inversions. Anthropologist Manuel Delgado points out that the drama of Christ’s passion is itself grotesque: Jesus is the victim of summary judgement and is tortured and executed before mobbed spectators, and Holy Week processions in Spain include crowds who vociferously insult the figure of Jesus. Thus for Delgado, carnivalesque irreverence, parody, degradation, and laughing at a tragicomic God are not negations of the sacred order but intensifications of it. Some of the best-known traditions, including carnal parades and masquerade ball masquerading, were first recorded in medieval Italy. The carnival of Venice was, for a long time, the most famous carnival (although Napoleon abolished it in 1797 and only in 1959 was the tradition restored). From Italy, Carnival traditions spread to the Catholic nations of Spain, Portugal, and France. From France to New France in North America. From Spain and Portugal it spread with Catholic colonization to the Caribbean and Latin America. In the early 19th century in the German Rhineland and Southern Netherlands the weakened medieval tradition started to revive as well. In Rhineland of Germany, in 1823, the first modern Carnival parade took place in Cologne, Germany. The upper Rhineland is mostly Protestant as is most Northern Germany and Northern Europe. Actually, Carneval, Fasching or Fastnacht in Germany developed from pagan traditions that mixed with Christian traditions. People celebrating before Lent arrived began with parades, costumes and masks to endure the period of Lent and withdrawal from worldly pleasures. Other areas have developed their own traditions. In the United Kingdom, West Indian immigrants brought with them the traditions of Caribbean Carnival, however the Carnivals now celebrated at Notting Hill, London; Leeds, Yorkshire, and other places have become divorced from their cycle in the religious year, becoming purely secular events that take place in the summer months.