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February 23, 2009

Carnival

It is Carnival Season in many countries around the world with a Roman Catholic heritage. Celebrations and parades put on just prior to the observance of Lent. Tomorrow will be the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but the past couple of weeks have seen parades and celebrations throughout Europe, the Caribbean and South America - notably Venice, Italy and Brazil. Collected here are just a glimpse of some of the elaborate celebrations of this Carnival season. (40 photos total)

A queen of the drums of the Vai-Vai samba school parades at the Sambadrome as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on February 22, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

A member of the Grande Rio samba school gives the final touches to an eagle atop a float at Samba City in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 16, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman prepares a float of the Grande Rio samba school before performing in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

A member of Academicos do Grande Rio samba school work on a float in Samba City in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 18, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

French cabaret dancers from the Moulin Rouge pose during a photo call in Rio de Janeiro February 20, 2009. The dancers are in Rio de Janeiro from 20-24 February to participate in the carnival festivities by the top samba groups. (REUTERS/Sergio Moraes) #

Revelers cover themselves with mud during the annual 'Bloco de Lama' carnival celebrations in Parati, Brazil, Saturday, Feb, 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

A man is seen covered in mud during the annual 'Bloco de Lama' carnival celebrations in Parati, Brazil, Saturday, Feb, 21, 2009.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Members of Tom Maior samba school parade atop of a float at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations, in Sao Paulo, Brazil early February 21, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A painted member of Leandro de Itaquera samba school parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on February 21, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Disabled participants from Leandro de Itaquera samba school parade on wheelchairs at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on February 21, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman from Perola Negra samba school parades during the carnival in Sao Paulo February 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker) #

Dancers perform on a float during the parade of the Mocidade Alegre samba school in Sao Paulo, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Andre Penner) #

Drumers of Mocidade Alegre samba school parade at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on February 22, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Ana Maria Tavarez reacts after being crowned the Tenerife Carnival Queen 2009 during a carnival gala in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, late February 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Santiago Ferrero) #

A participant named Drag Noa performs at a drag queen competition during carnival festivities in Las Palmas on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria, late February 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Borja Suarez) #

A member of Mocidade Alegre samba school parades in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on February 22, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A float from the Vai-Vai samba school enters the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on February 22, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Hungarian man wears a mask during the traditional Buso Carnival in Mohacs, southern Hungary February 22, 2009. During the Buso Carnival, which lasts for six days, locals bury the winter and party before the start of lent. According to legend, the masks helped locals scare away the Turks in the 16th century. (REUTERS/Karoly Arvai) #

A costumed reveler poses along the canal near San Marco square in Venice on February 14, 2009 at the beginning of the annual Venice Carnival "Sensation 2009". (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Missoni fashion house heir Margherita Missoni is lowered by cable while suspended above Saint Mark's square in Venice, Italy February 15, 2009. The event, called Flight of the Angel, marked the start of the Carnival in the lagoon city. (REUTERS/Commune Di Venezia/Handout). #

A participant attends a masked carnival ball at the Manoel Theatre, built in 1731, in Valletta , Malta early February 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi). #

A horse is seen inside La Fenice theatre during a rehearsal of the Cavalchina Grand Ball, one of the highlights of the Carnival in Venice, Italy February 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Michele Crosera) #

Mounted men personifying Sartiglia Knights ride ahead of the reenactment of the game Sartiglia in Oristano, west Sardinia on February 22, 2009 at the end of the 544th Carnival of Sardinia. Sartiglia, an equestrian game of ancient origins, where masked knights on horseback joust for a star hung along a track at man height. Contenders try to pass the star onto their sword as they ride along. (MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Revellers take part in the annual carnival in the Adriatic city of Imotski, Croatia on February 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A majorette jumps through the air as she takes part in the "Rose Monday" carnival parade in the western German city of Cologne on February 23, 2009. (AFP PHOTO DDP/MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK) #

Haitians celebrate Carnival on February 15, 2009 in the city of Jacmel, Haiti. (THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Beija-Flor samba school dancers parade at the Sambodrome on the first night of the Carnival samba school parade in Rio de Janeiro on February 23, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Beija Flor samba school float parades at the Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009.(AP Photo/Ricardo Moraes) #

A group of jesters spit fire during a carnival parade in Barranquilla, Colombia, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/ Fernando Vergara) #

A dancer performs atop a Vila Isabel samba school float at the Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Ricardo Moraes) #

A member of Unidos do Peruche samba school parades at the Sambadrome, as part of carnival celebrations, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late February 20, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A float representing a dragon, parades during the 125th Nice Carnival, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, in Nice, southern France. (AP Photo/ Lionel Cironneau) #

Revellers from the Tom Maior samba school parade during the carnival in Sao Paulo February 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker) #

Dancers of Mocidade samba school perform during the first night of the Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome, early February 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Sergio Moraes) #

A member of Tom Maior samba school parades through the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations, in Sao Paulo, Brazil early February 21, 2009. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Unidos de Vila Isabel samba school dancers perform on the first night of the Carnival samba school parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 23, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A reveller wearing a handmade mask takes part in the annual carnival in the town of La Vega, Dominican Republic on February 22, 2009. (REUTERS/ Eduardo Munoz) #

A dancer takes her position on a float as she prepares to enter Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome for the first night of the Carnival parade early February 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Daryan Dornelles) #

A woman performs atop a Beija Flor samba school float at the Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Academicos do Grande Rio samba school dancers perform in the Sambodrome on the first night of the Carnival samba school parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 23, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

 
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