One of the best Shrovetide festivities in Europe, the Madeira Carnival, is held at various locations in Funchal every February. Among the main highlights are two vibrant parades. Both parades end at the Municipal Square, which serves as the epicenter of festivities with plenty of entertainment, live music, and costume competitions.
The Main Parade, Cortejo Alegórico, is held on Saturday of the Carnival weekend. The air reverberates with Samba music while thousands of costumed participants and floats move through the streets, lined with spectators. Endless dancing and lots of food and drinks turn the streets into one giant block party. On Saturday night, Funchal looks the most colorful and vivid. It's impossible to stay aside and just watch. Carnival spirit is highly contagious!
On Fat Tuesday, the Slapstick parade, Cortejo Trapalhão', is held. Participation is open to all spectators. The revelers wear hilarious costumes, competing in creativity, humor, and satire. This parade dates back to the first half of the XX century when a spontaneous procession took place at Rua da Carreira. The costume contest at the Municipal Square is open to all participants, which can compete in different categories: Adults, Children, King “Trapalhão,” Best “Trapalhão,” and Transvestites.