Carnival (Carnaval, Καρναβ?λι (Carnavali), Carnevale, Carnestoltes, Carnaval, Karneval, Carnaval and Karnawa? in Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Catalan, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and Polish languages) is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during January and February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, masque and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.
Traditionally, in Christianity, carnival marked the last opportunity to celebrate and to use up special foods before Lent. The Lenten period of the Church calendar, being the six weeks directly before Easter, was marked by fasting and other pious or penetential practices. Traditionally during Lent, no parties or other celebrations were held, and people refrained from eating rich foods, such as meat, dairy, fats and sugar. The forty days of Lent, recalling the biblical account of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, serve to mark an annual time of turning to God and religious discipline. In the days before Lent, all rich food and drink had to be disposed of. The consumption of this, in a giant party that involved the whole community is thought to be the origin of Carnival.
In 1980 it was declared a Festival Tourist International Interest, by the Secretariat of State for the Tourism and it is one of the most important carnivals of the World. The carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the biggest and most spectacular events of its kind in the World. Every February, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the largest of the Canary Islands, hosts this historical event, attracting around a million people from everywhere. The celebrations could be declared by UNESCO as Heritage of Mankind in 2009. Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site.