The main day of Carnival season is a public holiday in Angola, falling on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. But Carnival actually lasts almost a full week since it starts on the previous Thursday, which is always the final Thursday before Lent.
The start of Lent and the anticipation of the Easter season are a huge time of colourful celebration in Angola. The whole country takes part, and many people in the nation’s cities dons fantasy-style costumes and heads out to join in the street celebrations.
The biggest and wildest festivities, however, take place in Luanda, Angola’s capital and largest city. There, the president and other high ranking officials watch a massive parade pass by on Marginal Avenue. Various groups compete as they sing, dance, play traditional music, and even shoot out harmless jokes at points.
Food carts crowd the streets, and everyone indulges in traditional Angolan foods as they watch the shows and generally “party” for days on end. Only a few other countries, like Brazil and certain Caribbean states, put on Carnival with as much enthusiasm as does Angola.