The world’s turned topsy-turvy! It’s snowing bits of paper. Clowns are dancing with witches. It’s the Mardi Gras (from the French “fat Tuesday”) carnival! And people in places as far apart as Venice in Italy and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil are dressing in costumes and masks and dancing and parading in the streets.

Mardi Gras marks the last day of festivities before Lent – 40 days of fasting and prayer for Christians. Lent starts in February or March.

People also celebrate the days before Lent in other ways. In Britain, people celebrate Pancake Day on the Tuesday before Lent by eating pancakes. The custom began long ago, when people could not eat meat, butter, eggs, and other rich foods during Lent. So, they made pancakes to use up their eggs and butter. In Olney, England, some women have a pancake race. They line up in the market square carrying a pancake in a frying pan. They must flip the pancake three times as they race to the other end of the square.

In Bulgaria, children celebrate Cheese Week before Lent. During the week, the children play a special game. With their hands behind their backs, they try to eat pieces of cheese, eggs, or sweets hanging by a string from the ceiling.

Picture Credit : Google