New Orleans is famous for the wild party that is Mardi Gras, but the rowdy, bawdy celebration that Americans are so familiar with is just one of many Carnival celebrations happening across the world.
Mardi Gras is New Orleans’ version of Carnival, a festival to mark the beginning of Lent that is celebrated in many countries with a Catholic heritage. “Mardi Gras” means “Fat Tuesday.” The day after, called Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the Lenten season, marked by an ascetic diet, prayer and penance that lasts until Easter. The idea behind Carnival celebrations is to cram about 40 days of partying into a single week. Some places stretch the Carnival season out even longer, basically partying twice as hard as normal throughout February.
Here are 5 Carnival festivals around the world that are well worth the bother of turning in your passport application to see them in person:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: In Rio, Carnival is a spectacle of gaudy floats, elaborate costumes, samba dancing and beach parties.
Venice, Italy: Carnivale in Venice means parties, costume balls, theater and masks everywhere. During Carnivale, the whole city turns into a giant masquerade as natives and tourists alike hide under fancy clothes and elaborate masks.
Patras, Greece: In Patras, the high point of Carnival is a three-day extravaganza featuring parades, parties, plays and lots of children’s activities. If you’d prefer something a little less “family friendly,” head on over to Tyrnavos for the annual “Phallus Festival.”
Canary Islands: The celebrations in Santa Cruz de Tenerife are the largest in Spain and the second-largest in the world, second only to Rio de Janeiro. Festivities include parades, parties, masquerades and dancing in the street.
Trinidad and Tobago: In the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival is a month-long marathon of parties, dances and competitions. Musicians compete with each other to see who can win the National Panorama competition for playing the steel drums, and organized groups of revelers called “bands” compete to see who has the best costumes. Also, there’s rum. Lots of rum. Captain Jack Sparrow would be in heaven!
If you’d like to leave the country for Carnival, you’d best get your passport application in now. It takes about 6 weeks for an application to be processed if you don’t get it expedited. That’s not enough time: Mardi Gras falls on March 8th this year. If you apply with the government’s expedited processing, you still could find yourself waiting at least 3 weeks, which is cutting it awfully close.
RushMyPassport can help! We’ll walk you through the passport application process to reduce the chance of common mistakes that could delay your application. Then, we’ll personally deliver your paperwork to the Department of State for processing times as low as 24 hours.
Submit your passport application today!