10 Best Mardi Gras Celebrations Around the World
As well as the traditional bead necklaces thrown to parade watchers at other Mardi Gras parades, you may also find yourself the recipient of a Moon Pie, an individually-wrapped, chocolate-covered, marshmallow-filled cake. The city of Nice has held a Carnival in the lead-up to Lent since at least , giving it a long and colourful history which today attracts more than a million visitors.
Every year on Shrove Tuesday in the small town of Binche, up to a thousand curiously-attired local men known Gilles appear in the streets to take part in the annual festival.
They are armed with sticks and dance to the sound of the drums before marching through the streets with baskets of oranges that are flung to, or at, people watching their procession. If you happen to catch one, hold onto it as a good luck charm: it is considered an insult to return fire.
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These two tiny islands of the northern coast of Venezuela spend the two days leading up to Ash Wednesday the start of Lent in a colourful, music-filled celebration of their culture. Dressed in elaborate costumes, various Calypso bands compete against one another for the honour of being named Calypso Monarch.
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As well as the traditional Mardi Gras parade which takes place every night during this period, complete with floats, performers and those beads, they also offer traditional Cajun food and weekly live pop concerts. This celebration of inclusiveness in support of the LGBTQI community grew out of gay rights protests in the s and today attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Australia and around the globe.
The main highlight of Mardi Gras is the iconic parade along Oxford and Flinders Streets which features more than participants with brightly elaborate costumes and floats, but in total there are around 60 events over the duration of the festival, which actually runs for around three weeks and culminates with the parade on the first Saturday in March.
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