New Orleans made Mardi Gras famous, but it's not the only place where carnival is celebrated. In the U.S., cities like Mobile, Alabama and Galveston, Texas have their own traditions. Numerous countries with a Christian heritage also host pre-Lenten festivals.
Belgium's best-known Mardi Gras celebration dates back to the 14th century in the Carnival of Binche, which features the Gilles, a group of about 1,000 men who dress up in linen suits traditionally designed with the colors of the Belgian flag.
Rio de Janeiro Carnival, the world's largest Carnival celebration, dates back to 1840, with a parade through the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí. The parade includes more than 200 samba marching groups that perform African-Brazilian dance and drumming while dressed in feathery costumes, followed by intricate floats.
Carnaval de Québec, the winter Carnival in Quebec City, Quebec, is one of the world's largest winter festivals. The Carnival's official snowman mascot Bonhomme Carnaval leads parades.
The city of Barranquilla host's Colombia's carnival, with the main celebration of Carnaval de Barranquilla lasting four days.
The Czech Republic's Mardi Gras celebration dates back to the 13th century. Known as Masopust, or Slavic Carnival, cities like Prague have mainstream balls and concerts, while villages in the Hlinecko Region host traditional customs.
The French Carnival is similar to New Orleans, with the city of Nice in the French Riviera boasting a tradition dating back to 1294. Nice's Carnival hosts a parade with about 20 papier-mâché floats, about 50 big-headed giant puppets and throws from floats.
Mardi Gras in Germany is celebrated by the Rhenish Carnival in western cities like Düsseldorf, Mainz, and Cologne. Another Carnival is the Fastnacht, celebrated by the Swabian and Alemannic people in the Baden-Württemberg region.
India's Goa Carnival is one of Asia's few Mardi Gras celebrations, dating back to 1510 from Goa's former occupation by Portugal. The Goa Carnival has some elements similar to the Hindu festival of Holi.
With Carnival celebrations across Italy, the best known is Carnevale di Venezia in Venice, which dates back to the 17th century. The Carnival officially dates from December 26 through Ash Wednesday.
Russia's Mardi Gras festival is known as Maslenitsa, with a bit of the region's pagan Slavic roots incorporated. The holiday's name translates to "Crepe Week" or "Cheese-Fare Week," making eating dairy products a tradition.