Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

 combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade
Masquerade ball
A masquerade ball is an event which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. - History :...

 during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnaval is a festival traditionally held in Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies.