Mardi Gras Parades

The best Mardi Gras parade to attend is all a matter of taste, and one of the best things about the different Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and Carnival celebrations around the world is that each has its own particular atmosphere, which is reflected in the costumes, style, and parades at the events.

The Samba Parade in Rio de Janeiro is considered the best Mardi Gras parade in South America and one of the best in the world, as it’s an unforgettably lively and fun events, with Rio Carnival parade images showing bright colors, dancing, and plenty of girls in sexy costumes. Located within the Sambodrome, the parade consists of fourteen school marching bands. Seven bands march on Carnival Sunday and the other seven march on Carnival Monday. The Samba Parade begins at 9 pm each night and continues until approximately 7 am the following morning, and it’s possible to sign up with different groups to participate, even if you’re just a visitor attending a carnival in Rio.

If you’re attending one of the 2016 carnival celebrations in Europe, an event that is considered among the best Mardi Gras parade options is held in France. Festivities in Nice begin with the arrival of the King of the Carnival at Place Massena where spectators line the way as the arrival of the King marks the first day of carnival celebrations.

The Nice parade features more than 20 floats decorated with hundreds of giant caricature heads made of papier-mâché. The floats and heads are a colorful addition to the festivities as they make their way down the parade route accompanied by street performers and musical groups. On the last day of the Nice Carnival, which is Mardi Gras itself, a colorful night parade featuring thousands of sparkling lights and a brilliant fireworks display is held to end the festivities.

A smaller city hosting a great carnival celebration is Limoux, France, which has the longest running carnival—it goes from January through March. Unlike Nice, which welcomes the King of Carnival, in Limoux the tradition is to burn an effigy of the king at the stake.

Throughout the Limoux Carnival, different guilds or clubs make their way down the parade route three times a day amid music and singing. The object of the guild participants is to play pranks on revelers, make fun of society, and mock the rules, all in good fun. The evening parade is lit by torch light creating a mystical atmosphere.

When you’re deciding where to celebrate Mardi Gras, there are many choices beyond the cities in South America and Europe. Florida, for instance, has a family-oriented Mardi Gras celebration in Orlando, at Universal Studios, or you can head to St Louis, for one of the nation’s largest Mardi Gras celebrations.

However, to experience Fat Tuesday at its best, along with all the activities and Mardi Gras parties—as well as what is arguably the best Mardi Gras parade in the US—head for New Orleans, where the Cajun atmosphere and revelry are world-famous. If you’re wondering where adults can celebrate Mardi Gras here, there are dozens of options, including bars and pubs along the parade route, local restaurants, and of course, Bourbon Street, which is the heart of the Mardi Gras celebrations.

Many of the established Mardi Gras parties are sponsored by social organizations known as Krewes. These types of parties feature costume balls where traditional and creative Mardi Gras attire and masks are the highlight. These parties may be for the individual Krewe or for charity and are another option of where to celebrate Mardi Gras 2016. Any destination in the city will have the spirit of Mardi Gras and New Orleans’ unofficial motto: “Laissez les bon temps roulez,” or “Let the good times roll.”

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