Carnival started off as the last celebration before the period of fasting and penitence – Lent (Randan).
The word Carnival comes from latin for ‘Goodbye to Meat’ (Carne Vale). Traditionally meat is not eaten during the whole 40 days of Lent.
In Malta, carnival has been celebrated since the 15th century, but was made popular mainly by the celebrations of the Knights of the Order of St John(Kavallier ta’ San Gwann).
The kukkanja is a tradition which was introduced to Malta in 1721. A high vertical pole covered in grease and with prizes at the top is placed in a public space – daring people to try to climb the slippery pole to reach the prizes.
The most popular carnivals around the world are Venice (Italy) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).