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See the colorful celebrations in 12 countries around the world.
Members of the Dragoes da Real samba school perform during the first night of the Sao Paulo's Carnival parade at the Sambodromo on Feb. 28, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Soccer player Ronaldo participates at the Gavioes da Fiel samba school during the second night of carnival parade at the Sambadrome on March 1 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Performers from the Mangueira samba school parade during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 3.
A reveler dressed as a character from the movie Avatar poses for a photo at the 'Ceu na Terra' block party during Carnival celebration on March 1, 2014, in Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro's over-the-top Carnival is the highlight of the year for many local residents. Hundreds of thousands of merrymakers will take to Rio's streets in the nearly 500 open-air "bloco" parties.
Carnival revelers parade through the streets during the traditional Schuttig jump on March 2 in Elzach, Germany. The Schuttig is the traditional carnival figure of Elzach and wears a red suit and a big straw hat with snail shells attached to it.
A boy wearing a mask jumps over a fire during Bele Poklade carnival celebrations in the village of Lozovik, Serbia, on March 2. Bele Poklade has its roots in old pagan customs and is marked annually seven weeks before Easter. Children walk through the village to collect eggs, and at the end they jump over a fire to banish evil demons.
Mud-covered revelers dance and sing at the "Bloco da Lama" or "mud street party" beneath an overcast sky on March 1 in Paraty, Brazil. The "Bloco da Lama" was founded in 1986 by two local teens who became local Carnival sensations after they appeared in the city's historic downtown covered in mud following a crab-hunting expedition in a nearby mangrove forest, said Diana Rodrigues, who was hired by Paraty's City Hall to explain the history of the "bloco" to foreigners.
Revelers take part in the "Cordao da Bola Preta" biggest street carnival band parade in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 1, 2014. Some 1.3 million people took part in the parade, according to Riotur Rio de Janeiro's city authority.
Revelers kiss during the Banda de Ipanema Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 1. Streets across Brazil have been swamped with Carnival revelers, with the largest parties attracting more than 1 million merrymakers.
Bell ringers, or "Zvoncari," walk during a parade in the village of Marcelji, Croatia, on March 2. According to traditional customs, the bell ringers would walk through different villages and create huge amounts of noise to scare away evil spirits of winter and welcome spring. Their costumes consist of white trousers and striped shirts, including a sheepskin thrown over their shoulders and a big bell tied around their waist.
The "King" float parades during the Nice Carnival on March 2, in Nice, France. The theme of this year's carnival is the "King of Gastronomy."
Members of the samba school from the Special Group Gavioes da Fiel participate in a parade during the celebrations of the Sao Paulo Carnival at the Anhembi sambodrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 1.
A float goes by the crowd during the Krewe of Endymion Parade in New Orleans on March 1.
A float rider in the Krewe of Endymion Parade hands a glow stick to a member of the crowd on March 1 in New Orleans. The city's Mardi Gras celebration will continue through the weekend and cullminates with Fat Tuesday.
The 'Peliqueiros' or hairdressers take part in the 'Entroido' carnival festival on March 2 in Laza, near Ourense, Spain.
A performer takes part in an event marking the closing of carnival celebrations in the Malecon of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on March 2.
Revelers dressed as "Negritas Puloy" perform during the "Battles of the Flowers" parade on March 1 as part of carnival celebrations in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Dancers from the Dragoes da Real samba school perform on a float during a carnival parade March 1 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A reveler of Tom Maior samba school performs during the first night of carnival parade at the Sambadrome on March 1 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Dancers parade during the Nice Carnival on March 2 in Nice, France.
Members of the "Diablada Oruro" perform during the Carnival parade March 1 in Oruro, Bolivia.
Masked people attend to the carnival procession in the city of Strumica, some 150 km southeast of Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on March 1. On this day Macedonians mark Trimery, an Orthodox Christian holiday, when evil spirits are chased away with dance rituals. The holiday marks the beginning of the fasting period ahead of Easter.
Traditionals dancers, called "Bules," with masks dance in Naousa, Greece, on March 2. The Boules of Naousa takes place during the Carnival period. It is a dance event that incorporates a variety of elements from Greek history, tradition and religion.
A boy looks at men dressed as "Diablos de Luzon" (Luzon Devils) pose for a portrait on March 1 during carnival celebrations in the Spanish village of Luzon. The "Diablos" cover themselves in a mixture of soot and oil and adorn their heads with black stained bull horns as they parade throughout the village with cowbells clanging around their waist to expel the evil spirits.