Mardi Gras dance and carnival celebrations occur worldwide as celebrations before the Christian liturgical season of Lent. Generally, this Pre-Lent period occurs in February or March. These celebrations include parades, costumes, food, masks and huge public parties. So, it is customary to indulge in excessive consumption prior to the abstinence prescribed for in the Lenten period. These celebrations vary in different countries. The main popular dance styles for these carnival festivals is the samba dance.

Mardi Gras Dance

Carnivale & Mardi Gras masks

Carnival celebrations are called Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) in the United States. Therefore, the day before Ash Wednesday is referred to as Fat Tuesday. Also, there are huge parades and street parties in almost every major city in the U.S.

Additionally, New Orleans holds the most famous of these celebrations. Mardi Gras dance historically includes street dancing and samba dance groups.

Brazilian Carnival Samba

Brazilian samba dancers in costume

There are huge Carnival parades with floats carrying samba dancers all over Brazil.

Samba schools throughout Brazil teach the Brazilian samba. In fact, the samba originated in Brazil then traveled around the world. In many countries the samba evolved into a local style of samba dancing. The Brazilian carnival celebrations revolves around this samba culture.

Venetian Carnevale Masks

Many different regions in Italy celebrate Carnevale. Some of the well known celebrations include Viareggio, Ivrea and the Venetian carnevale festivals.

However, the most famous one is the Venetian Carnevale in Venice! Traditionally, this carnival festival is all about costumes and particularly, masks. Additionall, both Venice locals and tourists partake of this mask mania. Hence, one will find a proliferation of mask shops. Venice has mastered the art of maks making with gorgeous original masks created by artists.

Brazilian Samba Team Performance

(Click photo or Brazilian samba performance)

Watch dance video clips of the other South American dances here!