Giovanna Caravetta

Take a break from the beach and visit some world-class wineries on your next trip to SoCal.
Where to stay, eat, and sightsee, from Los Angeles to Virginia — or vice-versa.
9 stops not to miss — plus what to do and where to eat while you’re there.
Pulsating music, intricately-decorated parade floats, a plethora of joyful dancers, enough decadence to last a lifetime — these are the makings of a memorable Carnival. At the heart of every elaborate Carnival festival is an amalgamation of age-old tradition and ornate costuming, paired with the occasionally satirical, tongue-in-cheek celebration. From New Orleans to Venice, no two cities’ spectacles are identical; rather, this annual parade of revelry ranges from the brightly-colored bead tossing along Bourbon Street to the grand masquerade balls that epitomize the Venetian style. Carnival — with its origins predominantly in those regions with a vibrant Catholic religious tradition — marks the spirited season in the weeks leading up to Lent, a season of fasting. Carnival isn't just a time to party — it is also an expressive outlet for artists to make a thought-provoking statement with their floats as their platform. Because these events attract hundreds of thousands of people each year — both tourists and locals alike — parade float designers take the opportunity to draw inspiration from international current events in an ironic way. If you find yourself in need of some merriment, look no further than Carnival — just follow the beat of the heart-pounding music and find a costume to join the festivities. Related:More winter vacation ideas