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The World's Most Popular Carnival Celebrations

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Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday or Pancake Day, is celebrated around the world with parades and carnivals and marks the beginning of fasting for the Catholic Lenten season. The New Orleans parade is one of the most famous Mardi Gras carnivals, but other celebrations around the world are also hugely popular.  So, what are the other popular Mardi Gras celebrations out there? Click ahead to find out.
Photo: Alexandro Auler | LatinContent | Getty Images

Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday or Pancake Day, is celebrated around the world with parades and carnivals and marks the beginning of fasting for the Catholic Lenten season. The New Orleans parade is one of the most famous Mardi Gras carnivals, but other celebrations around the world are also hugely popular. 

So, what are the other popular Mardi Gras celebrations out there? Click ahead to find out.

By Jessica Hartogs and Edward Hunton
Posted 8 Mar 2011

The Ati-atihan Festival, Philippines

The Ati-atihan Festival’s nickname is “The Filipino Mardi Gras”. It’s always held during the third week of January, (on the second Sunday after Epiphany), and is held on the island of Panay. The festival celebrates the Santo Nino and is extremely colorful and spirited.
Photo: Getty Images | Robert Harding Worl

The Ati-atihan Festival’s nickname is “The Filipino Mardi Gras”. It’s always held during the third week of January, (on the second Sunday after Epiphany), and is held on the island of Panay. The festival celebrates the Santo Nino and is extremely colorful and spirited.

The Carnival of Binche, Belgium

Belgium families begin to prepare for the Carnival of Binche before the winter. The public festivities begin six weeks before the carnival, with performances and ceremonies every Sunday leading up to the festival.
Photo: Getty Images

Belgium families begin to prepare for the Carnival of Binche before the winter. The public festivities begin six weeks before the carnival, with performances and ceremonies every Sunday leading up to the festival.

Sydney Stages Annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

The Sydney Annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras festival started in 1978 in Sydney, Australia. The parade claims to be the largest ‘outdoor night-time parade’ in the world. The event organizers, New Mardi Gras, state the parade’s intention is to “raise the visibility of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer communities.” The 2011 festival ran from February 19 to March 6. Here, Western Sydney Roller Girls attend the parade in 2006.
Photo: Lisa Maree Williams || Getty Images

The Sydney Annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras festival started in 1978 in Sydney, Australia. The parade claims to be the largest ‘outdoor night-time parade’ in the world. The event organizers, New Mardi Gras, state the parade’s intention is to “raise the visibility of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer communities.” The 2011 festival ran from February 19 to March 6. Here, Western Sydney Roller Girls attend the parade in 2006.

The Mardi Gras Parade of Place Massena in Nice, France

The Mardi Gras Parade of Place Massena in Nice is the city’s largest event of the year. The festival is held every February and each year carries a different theme, displayed in papier mâché figures. The 2011 theme was “King of the Mediterranean.”
Photo: Ruth Tomlinson | Robert Harding || Getty Images

The Mardi Gras Parade of Place Massena in Nice is the city’s largest event of the year. The festival is held every February and each year carries a different theme, displayed in papier mâché figures. The 2011 theme was “King of the Mediterranean.”

The Carnival of Venice

The Venice Carnival is marked by dancing, balls, partying, food and costumes. Masks have always played an important role in the festivities. In the 1700s, the festival used to begin the day after Christmas and last until Ash Wednesday. This year’s event took place Feb 26 - March 8.
Photo: Fuse | Getty Images

The Venice Carnival is marked by dancing, balls, partying, food and costumes. Masks have always played an important role in the festivities. In the 1700s, the festival used to begin the day after Christmas and last until Ash Wednesday. This year’s event took place Feb 26 - March 8.

Haitians Parade in Port-au-Prince

The Haitian Carnival returned to Port-au-Prince in 2011, after it was cancelled in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 2010. Haitians hope the annual carnival will bring a huge economic boost to the area.
Photo: Getty Images

The Haitian Carnival returned to Port-au-Prince in 2011, after it was cancelled in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 2010. Haitians hope the annual carnival will bring a huge economic boost to the area.

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras celebration of New Orleans, Louisiana, ends at midnight, when the Catholic Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and finishes with Easter. In this photo, floats roll down St. Charles Avenue throwing beads on Mardi Gras day on February 24, 2009.
Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images

The Mardi Gras celebration of New Orleans, Louisiana, ends at midnight, when the Catholic Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and finishes with Easter. In this photo, floats roll down St. Charles Avenue throwing beads on Mardi Gras day on February 24, 2009.

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras

The first Mardi Gras parade of New Orleans, Louisiana, was held on February 24, 1857. According to economic impact reports, Mardi Gras generates over 1 billion dollars in annual spending. The 2011 festival starts on March 8th, also known as Fat Tuesday. In this photo, reveller Joe Perez makes his way down St. Charles Avenue on February 24, 2004.
Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images

The first Mardi Gras parade of New Orleans, Louisiana, was held on February 24, 1857. According to economic impact reports, Mardi Gras generates over 1 billion dollars in annual spending. The 2011 festival starts on March 8th, also known as Fat Tuesday. In this photo, reveller Joe Perez makes his way down St. Charles Avenue on February 24, 2004.

Brazilian actress Grazielli Masafera

Possibly the most famous carnival in the world, the Rio Carnival lasts four days, beginning on the Saturday before Lent and ending on Fat Tuesday. The festival begins with the crowning of the “Fat King” who is presented with the key to the city of Rio by the mayor. Samba schools compete all night-long at the Sambadrome. Here, Brazilian actress Grazielli Masafera dances the samba.
Photo: Vanderlei Almeida | AFP | Getty Images

Possibly the most famous carnival in the world, the Rio Carnival lasts four days, beginning on the Saturday before Lent and ending on Fat Tuesday. The festival begins with the crowning of the “Fat King” who is presented with the key to the city of Rio by the mayor. Samba schools compete all night-long at the Sambadrome. Here, Brazilian actress Grazielli Masafera dances the samba.