Carnival arose in Portugal in the 11th century ... It was the Catholic church that defined 40 days of fasting before Easter (lent). The 3 days leading up to Lent... It was a total slump!
It was in those 3 days that people got together, ate and drank, and even chose a King...
They called these the fat days. The latin “carnis” and “valles”, in short: pleasures of the flesh. And that says it all...
The Venice carnival comes at exactly the same time. We, took the carnival to our colonies... and it was already in the XVII century that arrived in Brazil.
Later, masquerade balls appeared during the Reign of King João IV, but it was only in 1830 that everyone was allowed to participate. Samba, appeared only at the beginning of the 19th century.
In Lisbon, Carnival was also celebrated with a great parade. In this photo you can see this parade on Rua Garrett, the continuation of the street would lead to Armazéns do Chiado. The image mirrors the life in those houses…the balconies looked like they were going to explode with so many people…but those were the residents of those houses.
But it is in the city of Torres Vedras, 45 km north of Lisbon, that Carnival is different.
Starting with the King of Carnival, that in 1923 arrived by train ... the Queen only arrives in the following year but...but be careful and be amazed... the Queen, is in fact a man!!!
Here, in Torres Vedras, there is a tradition of men dressing up as women. As it was a region where not everyone had the means to make a very pompous carnival costume and at the level of the circumstance, they used their wives' old clothes and used cards to cover them in their faces. And poof… Matrafonas appeared. Something that only exists here, in Torres Vedras.
And nowadays there is already Samba da Matrafona ...
For obvious reasons this year, there will be no Carnival. Here is an idea of the Torres Vedras Carnival in 2020.