When I think of Mardi Gras, I immediately think of New Orleans and the large celebration that occurs in the city each year. However, New Orleans is not the only place to celebrate Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is celebrated around the world with many different traditions and rituals.
France: The French refer to their Mardi Gras as Carnaval and have numerous celebrations throughout the country. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the most popular Carnaval is the Nice Carnaval, a ten day long celebration including daily parades, concerts and street theater.
Brazil: Mardi Gras came to South America as a way to celebrate the beginning of the 40-day Lenten season. Today, Rio de Janeiro boasts one of the most lavish Mardi Gras celebrations in all the world. For four days and nights, people line the streets to view the spectacular parades.
Greece: The most prominent carnival celebration in Greece takes place in the city of Patras. The country of Greece also trades in the usual “Fat Tuesday” for “Burnt Thursday.” Burnt Thursday, celebrated ten days before Lent, is a time when Greeks indulge in grilled meats before religious fasting begins.
Italy: The romantic city of Venice is home to one of the liveliest Mardi Gras celebrations in Italy. For 10 days, Venetians wear festive masks and costumes to parade the streets before beginning the 40 day Lenten season of fasting and prayer.
Click here to read even more about Mardi Gras celebrations around the globe: http://gofrance.about.com/od/holidaysevents/a/mardigras.htm
Why would the French call it carnaval, the Portuguese name, instead of Mardi Gras, the French name?
That is a good question. I will have to research the answer.
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