Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Angola Carnival Day – March 21, 2023

Angola’s Carnival Day is an annual celebration that typically falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in a three-day calendar of events. This year it is from to 23. The carnival, a top attraction to tourists, proudly takes a seat as one of the Southern African nation’s most anticipated events. There are glamorous costumes and vibrant colors. Participants are embraced by nature, dancing without a care in the world. They will find a refreshing dose of culture, and a glorious parade to go with it. The tradition amazingly dates back to when it was a Portuguese colony.

History of Angola Carnival Day

Angola Carnival Day takes its root from Carnival Tuesday. Carnival Tuesday is also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday is a moveable event that picks its date depending on Easter. Usually, it is on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, an official public holiday. It is observed in countries such as Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Haiti, Venezuela, and Uruguay amongst others.

Fat Tuesday (known as Mardi Gras in French) is so-called because it’s the day that affords the luxury to eat all kinds of foods forbidden during the Lent fast, which kicks off the next day, Ash Wednesday. While general modern-day usage associates the word ‘Carnival’ with fun and elaborate glamour, the word ‘Carnival’ traces its roots to the late Latin expression ‘carne levare,’ translated to mean ‘remove meat.’ Fat Tuesday’s origin links back to ancient Rome and a festival from 133 to 31 B.C. held in honor of deities Lupercalia and Saturnalia. It was adopted by Christians upon arrival in Rome.

Luanda, the capital of Angola, was at a time named the world’s most expensive city by Mercer’s Annual Cost of Living Index. It is not expensive for ex-pats, but for locals, the reality of the aftermath of the civil war (1975 to 2002) has been gripping poverty. This is true even with the country boasting of Africa’s second-largest oil reserves, rich agriculture, and diamonds, amongst other treasures. The streets of Luanda, Angola, come alive during the carnival with her people alongside thousands of spectators budding with contagious excitement. They put on a proud showcase of culture — incorporating art, music, dance, and parades, and crowned with lots of delicious fares to make the heart merry.

Angola Carnival Day timeline

1162
World's Oldest Carnival Celebrated

The Carnival of Venice, dating back to at least 1268 is held in celebration of the military victory of the Venetian Republic over Aquileia (an ancient Roman city in Italy).

1850s
Angola Carnival Day Launches

The ceremonies are more politically inclined and put on a mock display of colonial powers.

1920s
Angola Carnival Day Banned

Between the 1920s and 1930s, carnival groups are assaulted by the police, leading to the carnival's banning.

1975
Angola Gains Independence

On November 11, 1975, the Republic of Angola on this day is granted independence from Portugal.

1976
Angola Carnival Day Returns

Known as Victory Carnival, it commemorates the retreat of the South African.

Angola Carnival Day FAQs

What language do Angolans speak?

Although there are several languages, Portuguese is the official language, borrowing from its colonial master. Other languages including Kikongo, Otjivambo, Kimbundi, and Chokwe-Lunda, are also spoken.

What kind of festivals do they have in Angola?

Angolans love to party and celebrations revolve around art, music, and religion.

Which is the biggest national holiday in Angola?

With colors, drinks, a day off, and a Brazilian-style event, Carnaval lives up to its reputation as the biggest holiday in Angola.

Angola Carnival Day Activities

  1. Take a trip

    What's more exciting than visiting somewhere new, meeting new people, and seeing the world through another person's eyes? Make use of this fun opportunity and make memories for a lifetime.

  2. Grab your costumes

    Carnivals are big, loud, and vibrant with color. Forget demure, go wild with elaborate costumes, embrace the African experience and have the time of your life.

  3. Document on social media

    Like, seriously, what's an awesome timeout without some cool snaps to compliment? Smile big for the cameras and don't forget to bring social media along with the hashtag #AngolaCarnival

5 Awesome Facts About Angola That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Visiting Angola is way cheaper than imagined

    According to Mercer's latest rankings in 2020, it is now at number 115 on its worldwide cost of living survey.

  2. Angola's carnival day borrows from Brazil

    The Brazilian-style carnival is highly anticipated and comes tops in the country's calendar.

  3. Angola's carnival attracts thousands of spectators

    Lots of tourists and spectators including the President and his cabinet members gather for the extravagant affair where groups are led by a carnival king or queen.

  4. Angola hosts lots of tourists treasures

    Africa's second-largest waterfall — Kalandula Falls known formerly as Duque de Bragança Falls, giant sable antelope, and more attractions are endemic to Angola.

  5. Angola Carnival Day 2021

    The 2021 edition of the carnival was held from 14 to 16 February in a virtual celebration with the parade featuring a few participants without an audience.

Why We Love Angola Carnival Day

  1. It helps keep culture alive

    Carnivals are fun ways to get people to love and cherish their rich traditional heritage. It can be passed from generation to generation.

  2. It keeps us open to other cultures

    Attending or studying carnivals in different parts of the world help broaden our knowledge of other worlds, keeping us open to different perspectives and belief systems. We love this!

  3. It binds us

    With an understanding of different people and cultures comes unity. Carnivals afford us this opportunity, thereby uniting the world.

Angola Carnival Day dates

YearDateDay
2022March 1Tuesday
2023March 21Tuesday
2024February 13Tuesday
2025March 4Tuesday
2026February 25Wednesday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.