Grab your dancing shoes, don a mask, and get ready to dance, because Carnival 2016 has officially kicked off in Rio de Janeiro. And while you have probably seen the dazzling images of revelers partying all night long and samba schools battling it out to take home the title in Brazil, you may be surprised to know that people in Croatia, Belgium, Russia, and beyond celebrate Carnival, too.
Some celebrations (like Brazil's) are pegged to the start of the Christian holy period of Lent, while many of those north of the equator draw on traditions celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring. But while each culture has its own unique way of celebrating, good food, vibrant music, creative costumes, and a willingness to leave behind worries are the key ingredients for any good Carnival celebration.
Ahead, stunning photos of how people around the world celebrate Carnival.
Caption: A reveler looks on as Rex, King of Carnival, parades down St. Charles Avenue during Mardi Gras Day in 2014 in New Orleans. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches.