Brazilians spend months preparing and choreographing their dances as each group gets graded by judges during the parade at the sambódromo (samba stadium). The samba schools are graded on originality, their live music, floats, costumes and samba dancing.
Venice's carnival is known for the artistic masks. People gather at St. Mark's square to show off their masks.
The carnival in Veracruz begins with the burning down of the "Bad Humor" which is represented by a character or current event such as kidnapper, war, a former president, etc. The carnival queen and king are crowned. There are several parades in the days preceding the main carnival day.
In the United States, the carnival festivities are very common in the south-east states. The Mardi Gras festivities of Mobile, Alabama "the original Mardi Gras city", holds several balls as well as many parades. They are famous for throwing carnival beads, candy and Moon Pies during the parade.
However, New Orleans is the most popular and most famous of the Mardi Gras festivities in the U. S. The streets of the French Quarter become a big open air cantina, several parades go down Canal Street, the floats are decorated colorfully and famous celebrities usually head the parade.
This past weekend we went to Natchez, Mississippi and by chance we got to see the Mardi Gras parade. The theme was Black History. The parade was headed by the police cars, firetrucks, followed by bands from the local high schools, floats, and even people on horseback.