Carnival is a term broadly referring to a specific kind of public event and entertainment.
The event has its roots in a traditional Christian celebration which marks the beginning of Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter during which no meat is eaten. The word is thus derived from the Latin phrase "carnem levare" (to remove/set aside the meat).
The term became in turn carnevale in Italian, carnival in English, carnaval in Dutch, karnaval in Afrikaans, karneval in some instances in German, etc.). (Also referred to as Mardi Gras in many instances). Most often associated with Christian festivities, notably Lent, though in some cases more broadly used to refer to other kinds street processionals and celebratory events.
See also Karnaval
South African carnivals
eMzantsi Carnival (December, Fish Hoek)