Fat Tuesday is the culmination of Mardi Gras, Carnival, Carnevale, and like minded celebrations that take place across the world today. From Guatemala to Greece, Fat Tuesday represents the last bastion of excess in Christian culture before the Lent fasting season begins. The streets pulse with energy and revelers don costumes, throw beads, shout sheenisms, and generally have a booze-fueled fantastic time.
So where are the top 5 places to throw down and party for Fat Tuesday?5. Venice
Venice provides the Italian atmosphere and throwback baroque charm to make you feel like you have stepped back in time a few centuries. Massive Parties are thrown at Piazza San Marco and thousands dress up in extravagant costumes to add an air of aristocracy to the Venetian streets. European revelers clog Venice’s narrow alleyways and bridges with a great time. The oldest Carnevale party in Venice took place in the 13th century, making Venice the original spot for the party.
Portugal’s celebrations vary by region with some smaller cities incorporating pagan rituals into the “Carnaval” experience. The largest party in the country happens in Lisbon and is a very cosmopolitan experience. With famous dancers and a massive parade, it is easy to find a great time in colorful Lisbon. In northern Portugal, revelers dress up in colorful yellow, red, and green costumes with tin masks (pictured above) and consume a lot of meat.
3. Trinidad and Tobago
This tiny island hosts the largest Carnival experience in the Caribbean. The party lasts over a month and climaxes with a massive 3 day party in the Port of Spain that ends on Ash Wednesday. Steel pans and Calypso music echo out across the massive party as Trinidadians and Tobagonians dance to the beat while clutching cups filled with sugary rum. On the Monday before Fat Tuesday, revelers wear old clothes and cover themselves in mud, oil, and paint. Some dress as devils. On Fat Tuesday, the party hits overdrive and revelers enrobe themselves in their Carnival finery.
2. New Orleans
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, and in the States, New Orleans is the place to take in the party. People come from all over the world for this French-American version of Carnival. The epicenter of the party is Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and Fat Tuesday is the apogee of the debauchery. With parades, beads, and hand grenades, it is hard not to have a great time in New Orleans.
1. Rio de Janeiro
The craziest and most intense carnival celebration takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Brazilians call it the greatest show on earth, and they make a valid point. Millions of people descend on the streets of Rio to dance the night away and gawk at Brazilian goddesses dressed in Samba costumes. The celebrations really take off the weekend before Ash Wednesday with the party exploding like a star on Fat Tuesday. Check out the video below to see what the world’s biggest party looked like in 1955.
flickr images via justindelaney and Rosina