Flower Market the morning of the Flower Battle, a carnival tradition in Nice
La Grande Bataille des Fleurs sur Mer
le Grand Corso Carnavalesque
la Place Masséna Nice
9 février 1904
In mid-February the ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia, riotous circus very close to the carnival celebrations we know today. Before abstinence and fleshless days - Carne Levare (remove meat), one last celebration is needed where all excesses of the flesh are permitted. Another possible explanation of the origin of the word carnival comes from the term Carrus Navalis (ship cart), the name of the roman festival of Isis, where her image was carried to the sea-shore to bless the start of the sailing season. The festival consisted in a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, that would be comparable to the floats of modern carnivals.
For today's Flower Battle and Grand Corso dancing in Nice see Carnaval de Nice and for information on Mardi Gras and carnival history and traditions throughout the world see Carnival.