A tradition reaching down the centuries to ancient times when ferocious masks, so legends tell us, banished the forces of evil through hilarious rejoicing, has turned Rijeka into the Carnival Capital of Croatia. Throughout the carnival days the city gates are firmly closed to any solemnity and soberness, and are wide open to colourful and carefree merrymaking. It will be no different this year. Once the keys of the city are handed over, the carnival revelry will sweep the streets and all those who happen to be in Rijeka. The sea of masks, which allow their wearers to forget their sorrows, at least for a moment, will spread good humour for days, while the climax of the Carnival comes on its closing day when the grand parade - known as the International Carnival Parade - makes its thunderous way across the city.