The word carnival comes from meat (meat) and levare (remove), that is, to remove meat and it is celebrated in the days that precede the beginning of Lent. Although there are researchers who want to find precedents in Greek or Roman festivals, even before, the truth is that carnival is linked to the Catholic Church, fundamentally. Its origin goes back to the past times when, for lack of adequate cooling methods, people had the need to finish, before the Lent began, with all the products that could not be consumed during that period, not only meat, but also milk, eggs and the like. The alternative was to lose them.
With this excuse, in many places began to organize, days before Ash Wednesday, popular festivals called carnivals, in which all products that could be spoiled during Lent were consumed. Very soon the meaning of the carnival began to degenerate, becoming a pretext to organize great feasts and also to perform all the acts of which they would "repent" during Lent, framed by a series of festivities and parades in which the celebrations are exalted. pleasures of the flesh of exaggerated form, as it continues happening at present in the carnivals of some cities, like in Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans.
Precisely, as a reaction to the excesses that were committed in the carnivals, it was taking place to perform a triduum of reparation and redress for the excesses committed, dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, called Triduum of Carnestolendas or Carnival. At present, where this triduum is celebrated, it is three days before Ash Wednesday, the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in the temple.
Although at the moment the Spanish Royal Academy attributes the origin of 'carnival' to the Italian word 'carnelevare' (of carne and levare, quitar), the 1901 press pointed out its Latin origin when saying that "it comes from the Latin voices 'expensive' and 'vale' (goodbye, meat) ", and its first appearance was in the Dictionary of the Language of 1780 to mean 'carnestolendas', this definition being maintained in its editions of 1817 and 1884 until in 1925 it came to mean" the three days preceding Ash Wednesday 'and later, in the editions of 1992 and 2001, it came to mean "the three days preceding the beginning of Lent." It should be noted that since 1925 its second meaning in this source became that of "popular party that is celebrated in such days, and consists of masquerades, comparsas, dances and other boisterous rejoicings".
To its synonym 'carnestolendas', the RAE attributes today the Latin origin (of' caro, carnis' = meat, and 'tollendus, tollere = remove remove), it equates to' carnival ', which was already attributed to sign principles, although then written with intermediate script (meat-tolendas), its Latin origin to say "meats that have to be removed, to give place to Lenten abstinence". In this sense we have his first appearance in that dictionary of 1780, which says "the same as carnival. Carnisprivium, bachannalia ", as well as that in that year you could also say 'carnestoliendas'.