Strange and Beautiful Carnival Scenes From Around the World

The festival of excess and indulgence is in full swing as the world's Christians prepare for the start of 40 days of Lent on March 1.


Revelers celebrate "Ash Monday" by participating in a colorful "flour war," a traditional festivity marking the end of the carnival season and the start of the 40-day Lent period until the Orthodox Easter, in the port town of Galaxidi on Feb. 27, 2017.

Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters


A man carrying skulls walks with his band in a Carnival parade in Les Cayes on Feb. 26. Their bodies are painted with a mixture of cane sugar and coal. 

Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images

Dominican Republic

A reveler performs during a Carnival parade in Santo Domingo on Feb. 25.

Erika Santelices / AFP - Getty Images

Dominican Republic

Costumed revelers perform during a Carnival parade in Santo Domingo on Feb. 25.

Erika Santelices / AFP - Getty Images


A performer breathes fire in Barranquilla on Feb. 26.

Ricardo Maldonado Rozo / EPA


A woman in costume dances during the Carnival parade in Ovar on Feb. 26.

Paulo Novais / EPA


Women dressed as "madamas" dance in a Carnival parade in El Callao on Feb. 26. El Callao's carnival, led by the "madamas," was recently named part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Juan Barreto / AFP - Getty Images


A man is hit by an orange thrown by a rival team during the annual Carnival orange battle in Ivrea on Feb. 26. 

Stefano Rellandini / Reuters


Locals wear Carnival costumes in Dunkirk on Feb. 26. 

Pascal Rossignol / Reuters


Young men dressed as "Peliqueiros," ancient tax collectors, run through the streets in Laza on Feb. 26. Peliqueiros pursued villagers through the streets ringing their cowbells and hitting villagers with their sticks.

Miguel Vidal / Reuters


A young woman's hat is adjusted at the beginning of the Paris Carnival on Feb. 26. 

Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt / AFP - Getty Images


Dancers perform the traditional "Diablada," or Dance of the Devils, during Carnival in Oruro on Feb. 25. The festival dates back more than 200 years in an ongoing pagan-Catholic blend of religious practice in the region.

Juan Karita / AP


Witches prepare to celebrate the traditional witches' sabbath at the market square in Waldkirch on Feb. 25. 

Michael Probst / AP


Dancers perform during Carnival in Encarnacion on Feb. 26. 

Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images


A reveler, dressed as "Diablos de Luzon," or Luzon's Devils, is covered in oil and soot and carries bull horns on his head in Luzon on Feb. 25. Preserved records from the 14th century document Luzon's carnival, but the real origin of the tradition could be much older. Carnival festivals are celebrated in their own way around hundreds of villages in Spain.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP


Revelers dress in masks and period costumes in Venice on Feb. 19. 

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP - Getty Images


Young men and women with painted faces participate in the Torch Parade on the island of Naxos on Feb. 25. 

Thanassis Stavrakis / AP

Canary Islands

A nominee for queen of the Carnival of Santa Cruz shows off her outfit on the main stage on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife on Feb. 22. 

Desiree Martin / AFP - Getty Images


"Straw-men," wearing masks and costumes made from bags stuffed with straw, walk in a Carnival procession in Evolene on Feb. 26. 

Thomas Delley / EPA

Czech Republic

Men dressed in a traditional Carnival costumes walk from house to house in Vortova on Feb. 25. Cheerful masked revelers walk with a musical band through the village to celebrate the departing winter, forthcoming spring and the start of Lent. 

Martin Divisek / EPA