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.

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