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  • The biggest Mardi Gras carnivals outside the US in 2011

    There are still a couple of months to go until Mardi Gras, but when it comes to one of the biggest parties of the year, it doesn’t hurt to start planning in advance. Especially if you are thinking of seeing how folks in other parts of the world celebrate Mardi Gras.

    The New Orleans festivals is iconic, but what happens in other cities on March 8, 2011. At its origins, Mardi Gras was (and still is, for many people), a religious holiday, so decadence is not usually a part of Mardi Gras festivities in some places.

    But whatever your inclinations, there are surely some places around the world where they celebrate Mardi Gras just the way you’d like. Here are the biggest Mardi Gras carnivals outside the US in 2011.

    Prague

    Czech Mardi Gras, also known as Bohemian Carnevale, used to be a pretty big deal back in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance. The tradition has been somewhat abandoned in the 20the century, but fortunately revived in the 21st.

    The annual program in the Czech capital includes balls, parades, and children’s activities. The Prague Mardi Gras incorporates older traditions borrowed from Shrovetide or Masopust festivals, as well as all the glam and fizz of modern carnivals. The events take place in the city’s museums, palaces, theaters and streets, and you can rent a costume to blend in better with the locals.

    Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

    In Australia, it’s summer when Mardi Gras is celebrated, which is just as well for those who are used to taking part in the events in New Orleans. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras manages to surpass the New Orleans festival when it comes to sheer displays of color, lights, music and enthusiasm, and the main purpose of this carnival is to promote the tolerance and acceptance of Sydney’s LGBTQ community. The artistic events start in early February, and the cherry on top is the huge Mardi Gras parade and party.

    Paris

    If in the US and several other countries Mardi Gras is an occasion for crazy parties, things are a bit more tame in Paris.

    There are several Mardi Gras traditions celebrated in France, but the most widespread one involves pancakes, and lots of them. Crepes are traditionally eaten on Mardi Gras, and children dress up like goblins or monsters, like on Halloween.

    For the parade itself, people go out in the city and walk a fatted cow through the streets of Paris. This tradition is called La Promenade du Boeuf Gras, and it also involves ancers, singers, Brazilian drummers and giant paper-mâché figures.

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