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March 9, 2011

Carnival 2011

The spectacle of gaudy colors, outlandish floats, airborne beads, and extravagant costumes was not limited to the French Quarter of New Orleans Tuesday. Weeks of pre-Lent celebrations culminated into explosions of exhilarating events for "Fat Tuesday" and Carnival around the globe. Historians say the Mardi Gras tradition dates back to Roman times, when the newly converted Christians retained vestiges of their pagan festival "Lupercalia" as a period of celebration before the penance of Lent. That spirit ricochets today from the revelers of Carnival in Brazil to the flour-tossing sprites of Greece to the ebullient trombones of Bourbon Street. -- Lloyd Young (43 photos total)

A Grande Rio samba school dancer performs while parading through the Sambadrome during carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 8. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press)

Rain falls as Mardi Gras revelers walk past beads lying on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, March 5. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press) #

Children revelers of Nene de Vila Matilde samba school get ready at a concentration area before the start of the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on March 5. (Maurcicio Lima/Getty Images) #

A float from the Beija Flor samba school parades through the Sambadrome during carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early March 8. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press) #

Revelers of the Grande Rio samba school participate in the second night of the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome March 7. (Sergio Moraes/Reuters) #

A reveler waits for the start of the annual carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome March 6. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters) #

An angel member of the "Diablada Autentica" performs during the Carnival parade in Oruro, some 200 km (124 miles) south of La Paz, March 5. Partying and religion mingle in Bolivia's Carnival celebration in Oruro, a mining and commercial city of more than 200,000 people. (David Mercado/Reuters) #

Revelers of Unidos do Peruche samba school perform atop of a float during the opening night of parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on March 4. Brazil's Carnival kicked off on the eve with millions of people taking to the streets of the northeastern city of Salvador de Bahia to dance and party, effectively putting the nation on a week-long hiatus. (Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images) #

A reveler on stilts greets a boy during a ceremony marking the official opening of Carnival season in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 4, 2011. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press) #

Contestant Carmen Eneida Carballo Rivero, wearing a creation called "Flashes of Atlantis", performs on stage during the annual carnival queen election gala in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, March 2. (Santiago Ferrero/Reuters) #

A masquerader from the band "What I Saw" presented by Robert Lakhan poses on the stage on Carnival Monday at Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain March 7. (Andrea De Silva/Reuters) #

Silvia Bianchini is carried along on a rope as she takes part in the flight of the angel, a traditional event in the calendar of the Venetian carnival in San Marco square in Venice on Feb 27. 2011 during the annual Venice Carnival. Its origin goes back to the times of the Serenissima (the old Venetian Republic), when an unknown guest flew along a rope from St. Mark's Bell Tower to the middle of the square and offered to page homage to the Doge. (Andrea Pattaro/Getty Images) #

Revelers join in the Ceu na Terra or Heaven on Earth street parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday Feb 26. Hundreds walk along the yellow tramcar that transports the carnival orchestra in the historic Santa Teresa neighborhood. The blocos or free street parades usher in the Carnival of Brazil which this year runs March 4-8. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press) #

A woman paints carnival masks at a mask making factory in Sao Goncalo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Feb 18. Rio's carnival celebration started on March 4. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press) #

Artisan Louis Kersten checks the size of a "Gille" costume worn by a participant, ahead of the Binche carnival in Belgium, March 3. The carnival, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage event, is one of the biggest and the most popular events in Belgium. The event will end with a parade of the Gilles of Binche on March 8. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters) #

Carnival revellers dressed as "Peliqueiros" run through a street in Spain's northwestern village of Laza March 8. "Peliqueiros", or ancient tax collectors, pursued villagers through the streets ringing their cowbells and hitting villagers with their sticks. (Miguel Vidal/Reuters) #

Dancers of Salgueiro samba school perform while parading during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 7. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press) #

A reveler from the Uniao da Ilha samba school participates during the second night of the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome, March 7. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters) #

A reveler makes her way home after the second night of the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome, March 8. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters) #

Drag queens run on Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach during the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras drag race March 4. (Tim Wimborne/Reuters) #

Revelers kiss on a street during the Carnival of Sao Luis do Paraitinga, 170 km (106 miles) from Sao Paulo, March 7. The event was one of the Carnival celebrations taking place across the country. (Nacho Doce/Reuters) #

A man dressed as a momotxorro mythological character tries to hit a girl taking part in the ancient carnival of Unanu in the north of Navarra province in Spain on March 8. Momotxorros chase locals and hit them with sticks. (Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images) #

Children dressed as devils wait at the Malecon (seaside boulevard) to take part in the last day of the annual national carnival in Santo Domingo March 6. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters) #

A reveler dances around a bonfire as he participates in the traditional 'flour-war' during the Clean Monday (Ash Monday) celebrations in the coastal city of Galaxidi, some 230 km west of Athens on March 7. The throwing of the flour in Galaxidi on the Clean Monday holiday is a unique celebration in Greece, marking the end of Carnival season. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images) #

Covered by mud, people participate in mud party during Carnival celebrations in Paraty, Brazil, March 5. The five-day annual carnival celebration officially started March 4 and is expected to draw about 756,000 visitors, both foreign and Brazilian, who will pack hotels to nearly 100 percent capacity and spend about $559 million, according to Rio state's tourism department. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press) #

A reveler wears a mask during the traditional Buso Carnival in Mohacs, southern Hungary March. At 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. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters) #

Lee Chance laughs as he shows off his collection of beads that he caught during the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club parade in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day March 8. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press) #

An Unidos da Tijuca samba school dancer performs during a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 7. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press) #

A reveler of the Caboclo block takes part in a Carnival parade in the colonial city of Olinda, Pernambuco State, March 7. (Jorge Silva/Reuters) #

Revelers of Uniao da Ilha samba school perform at the Sambadrome on March 7 during the second night of carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Uniao da Ilha lost fancy dresses and floats in a fire that took place three weeks ago. Rio's two nights of famously extravagant Carnival parades began late on March 6 in a burst of fireworks and to the cheers of festival goers who have been partying on the streets for days. The processions, featuring near-naked dancing queens, spectacularly imaginative floats and thousands of extras, were being held before a stadium crowd of 70,000 and an international broadcast audience. (Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images) #

A child wearing a carnival mask, looks at a parade during carnival celebrations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 7. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press) #

Revelers in costumes take part in carnival celebrations as they walk by the earthquake damaged National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 6. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press) #

Children with their bodies painted, pose for a photo during carnival celebrations in Huautla, Mexico, March 7. (Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press) #

Two carnival figures participate in the carnival in Lucerne, Switzerland, March 7. The carnival in Lucerne is one of the biggest carnival processions in Switzerland. Every year about 200.000 people come together in Lucerne to celebrate this event. (Sigi Tischler/Associated Press) #

People dressed in carnival costumes pose on San Marco square in Venice on Feb 27 during the annual Venice Carnival. (Andrae Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fools throw sweets from a float as they celebrate in the streets of Duesseldorf during the traditional Rose Monday parade on March 7. Carnival goers mainly in the Rhine region traditionally celebrate the highlight procession on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). The season ended with Ash Wednesday on March 9. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman covers the hair of a man with talcum powder during "El Dia de los Polvos" (Powder Day) festival in the southern Spanish village of Tolox March 8. During the carnival, it is traditional, especially for young people, to hurl talcum powder at each other until they are completely covered with it. In the past, young men used this game to seduce girls. Although the method of courtship has changed in modern days, the tradition of throwing powder on one another without distinction of gender or origin continues. (Jon Nazca/Reuters) #

A reveler of the Mangueira samba school participates in the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome March 6. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters) #

A woman sings during a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early March 7. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press) #

A reveler takes a sip of bourbon as he sits next to a sleeping man on a couch during the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club parade on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day March 8. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press) #

A crowd of revelers call out for beads as one of the many floats making up the Gulf Coast Carnival Association Parade passes by on March 8 in downtown Biloxi, Miss. The GCCA Parade was followed by the 30th Krewe of Neptune parade. (Amanda McCoy/Associated Press/Sun Herald) #

Rex, the King of Carnival rides in the Krewe of Rex as he arrives at Canal St. along St. Charles Ave. on Mardi Gras day in New Orleans March 8. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press) #

A samba school dancer rests after a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Marcb 7. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press) #



 
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