Revelers dance on the street during a Carnival parade in the fishing village of Peniche, north of Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday.
Credit Armando Franca / AP
A reveler looks on at the Mardi Gras Day parade in rainy New Orleans, where there are many parades and marches throughout the city.
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Men with helmets are hit by oranges during the traditional "battle of the oranges," held during the carnival in Ivrea, Italy. During the event, which marks the people's rebellion against tyrannical lords who ruled the town in the Middle Ages, revelers parading on floats represent guards of the tyrant, while those on foot are the townsfolk.
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The "King" float parades during the Nice Carnival in southeastern France. The theme of this year's carnival, running from February 14 until March 4, is the "King of Gastronomy."
Credit Valery Hache / AFP/Getty Images
Participants, known as Gilles, wear traditional costumes and hats made of white ostrich feathers during the carnival in the streets of Binche, Belgium. The Carnival de Binche has been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for the past ten years.
Credit Julien Warnand / EPA/Landov
Revelers from the Vila Isabel samba school participate in the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome.
Credit Ricardo Moraes / Reuters/Landov
A member of the Krewe of Zulu parades down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans.
Credit Jonathan Bachman / Reuters/Landov
Participants of the Krewe of Zulu Parade hand out painted coconuts to spectators in New Orleans.
Credit Dan Anderson / EPA/Landov
A reveler parades through the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Credit Jonathan Bachman / Reuters/Landov
Revelers dance on the street during a Carnival parade in the fishing village of Peniche, Portugal on Tuesday. Mardi Gras, Carnival and Fat Tuesday are different names for the traditional celebration marking the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Revelers across the globe gathered to mark the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known by several names, such as Mardi Gras, Carnival and Fat Tuesday. While parades are the most common form of celebration, a few nations indulge in some twists.
The Carnival in Ivera, Italy, includes a large battle where participants throw oranges. Some revelers in the Carnival de Binche in Belgium dress as Gilles, wearing traditional outfits accented with ostrich feathers.
Al 'Carnival Time' Johnson performs with New Orleans All-Star R&B Revue hosted by Deacon John at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on April 26, 2009 in New Orleans. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
On this Fat Tuesday, the music of Mardi Gras will ring through the streets of New Orleans — during parades, at bars and from residents’ homes.
Producer and DJ George Ingmire of WWOZ in New Orleans tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson two quintessential Mardi Gras songs are “Mardi Gras Mambo” by the Hawketts and “Carnival Time” by Al “Carnival Time” Johnson.
We’ll also have a Mardi Gras visit with Rob Owen, the author, with his daughter Edie Carol Owen, of Spy Boy, Cheyenne, and 96 Crayons: A Mardi Gras Indian’s Story. And we hear a poem from Katherine Soniat.
Record-breaking crowds have flocked to New Orleans for this year's Mardi Gras celebration. It's an all-consuming holiday that wouldn't be quite complete without returning from a parade with a neck draped in beads. However, many people say it's the bands that march in the parades that they enjoy most.
In Louisiana, Mardi Gras comes each year with dozens of parades filled with marching bands, colorful floats and parade-goers who scream, "Throw me something, Mister!"
That "something" the crowd wants are beads. The goal of any Mardi Gras parade is to catch as many as possible. After the revelry, people often have so many beads around their necks they can barely turn their heads.
Samba isn't just for the musicians who work the scene in Rio. Singer Maria Rita is from São Paulo in southern Brazil; she recorded a samba album several years ago and will release a second this spring.
Credit Tribo Productions
Samba singer Julio Estrela performs with his band at the Carioca da Gema club in Rio de Janeiro.
The morning of Mardi Gras calls for something a little hardier — and a little more indulgent — than your average bowl of Wheaties. After all, a long day lies ahead, thick with flying beads, outlandish parade floats and food in every form and function. When partying in New Orleans starts as early as dawn, a good breakfast is crucial.
And don't forget, Poppy Tooker adds: "This is the one city in America where breakfast drinking is totally socially acceptable." Why let such a splendid opportunity go to waste?