This year, March 1st is Fat Tuesday! Also known as Mardi Gras, this is the last day of the Carnival season – a period of raucous merry-making in the weeks leading up to Lent. In countries all across the world, people will traditionally celebrate with extravagant festivals, parades, and feasts. They will don costumes, dance in the streets, and binge on decadent desserts.
The two most famous Mardi Gras celebrations take place in Venice, Italy and New Orleans, Louisiana. At the Carnevale di Venezia the most important event is the contest for the best mask, which is judged by a panel of international fashion designers. Most years in New Orleans, the festivities revolve around the Mardi Gras parades, which are organized by secret societies known as “krewes.” The members of these societies design the elaborate floats and ride them during the event, tossing beads to the crowd below.