The first major festival of the year in Madeira,
apart from the "Dia dos Reis" public holiday, takes
place during the weekend before Ash Wednesday in February. It is
Carnival - universally celebrated in countries influenced by christianity.
Madeira, in its glorious weather for this type of event, its strong
Latin and Roman Catholic roots, and typical verve for having fun
and enjoyment, makes it a spoil for pleasure for visitors and residents
of the Island.
This year (1999) the main carnival procession
of floats and troupes takes place on the 13th of February. The popular,
or peoples carnival, takes place on Tuesday the 16th.
More than 1100 people will participate as troupers, dancers, models,
drivers, guides, and musicians in the main carnival procession on
Saturday. The procession is financed by the Regional Government
to a bill of approximately 50 000 000$00 Escudos ( or 250 000.00
Euros ) - a serious affair. A lot of effort and preparation is taken
to make sure that this event remains and continues to be one of
the most powerful drawing cards for tourism and visitors to the
island. Especially, to attract visitors from the colder northern
parts of Europe, and even as far afield as the USA and Canada.