Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Carnival is a secular holiday celebrated in many places where Catholicism is or was the dominant religion. Despite its inherently secular nature, Carnival is intimately tied to the Christian calendar. Specifically, it is a time of revelry and feasting that immediately precedes the liturgically somber period of Lent, which was traditionally marked by strict fasting for the approximately six weeks preceding Easter. The name “Carnival” itself reflects this relationship to fasting, as it derives from the medieval Latin carnem levare, “the setting aside of meat.”