During the weeks before Lent, many countries explode into an orgy of parades, rich foods, brilliantly colored costumes and general chaos. This beaded, feathered, masked, glittery, often drunken celebration is the traditional way to indulge in as many indulgences as possible before the grim six weeks of Lent, which usually involve penance, fasting, self-denial and atonement for one’s sins. The Carnival season is already winding down, but it’s not time for Lent just yet; indulge your Carnival spirit with these 20 gorgeous photos from Brazil, Colombia, Spain and more.
1. A dancer and a giant tiger in Rio de Janeiro.
2. Glittering costumes dazzle the crowds.
3. Dancers and a drumline on the streets of Rio.
4. Many Carnival costumes feature expansive wings.
5. A dancer shows off her skulls.
6. It’s hard to tell which are more elaborate: the costumes or the floats.
7. Ornate headdresses are everywhere during Carnival.
8. Confetti is as thick as snow.
9. A line of dancers snakes its way through Rio.
10. A dancer shows off her gold body paint.
11. Straw bears in Central Europe.
12. Star Wars cantina alien in Switzerland.
13. Carnival in Venice.
14. A traditional Portuguese Carnival costume.
15. Death angel in Venice.
16. A flowery float in Barranquilla, Colombia.
17. Darth Vader at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival.
18. A crowd of Stormtroopers in Rio.
19. A skydiver lands in Rio.
20. Revelers in Spain wear sacks full of straw and carry inflated animal bladders.