New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras
Thousands of people gathered on the streets of New Orleans today to listen to live music and watch colorful parades as the city celebrated Mardi Gras - the grand finale of the 12-day festival season.
The celebration of Mardi Gras was brought to America in 1699 by a French explorer. Over the years, the celebration in New Orleans has grown to include parades with colorful floats, live music, good food and people in costumes distributing bead necklaces. Today the Carnival is a fun event for both adults and children.
Mardi Gras, which means "Fat Tuesday" in French, usually falls between February 3rd and March 9th, depending on the Lunar Calendar. Mardi Gras is always held 47 days before Easter Sunday.
The Wednesday after Mardi Gras is known as "Ash Wednesday". This is the beginning of a six-week period of fasting and praying for many Christians, in preparation for the holy week of Easter.
While the New Orleans Mardi Gras is the biggest such event in the United States, the world's largest party is in Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil, which attracted over 700,000 revelers (party goers) this year.
Below find two videos, one from the New Orleans Mardi Gras and the other from Rio.
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