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A carnival parade is a public celebration, combining some elements of a circus and public street party, generally during the carnival season.
The Carnival Season refers to a specific holiday period. Its celebration begins as "Mardi Gras" (French for "Fat Tuesday") the day before Ash Wednesday, a day of celebration and partying before the rigours of Lent's 40 days of fasting and sacrifice begin. It ends on Shrove Tuesday or, sometimes on Pinata Weekend, the first Saturday and Sunday of Lent.
Places especially noted for elaborate Carnival celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia and Olinda in Brazil, Venice in Italy, New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama in the USA, Trinidad and Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Cádiz in Spain.
In England the leading carnivals are Notting Hill Carnival in August (reputedly the world's largest), and Bridgwater in November. In Germany Cologne, Duesseldorf, Mainz and Munich are well-known for their Carnival celebrations, parades and costumed balls which, particularly in southern Germany, are called Fasching.
When Lent ends, the Saturday following Holy Week is celebrated in a festival in Murcia, Spain. Called the Sardine's Funeral Parade it marks the end of the period when it is mandatory to eat fish and vegetables only.
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