SOURCE: Cheapflights.com

Cheapflights.com

January 25, 2012 11:54 ET

Ready for Revelry: Cheapflights.com Releases Its Top 10 Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Jan 25, 2012) - Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, is getting ready for Mardi Gras season. Whether you call it Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, the last day before Lent's 40 days of repentance (between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) brings out a wild side in populations around the world. Cheapflights joins in the revelry with its list of Top 10 Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations. While Mardi Gras this year falls on February 21st, many countries celebrate the festivities for over a month with locals taking to the streets to parade, masquerade and promenade in this festive season also known as Carnival. As the party nears its month-plus-long end, events heat up. Mardi Gras festivities rally locals and visitors alike to the streets of cities like New Orleans, Rio, Venice, where they rack up extra reasons to repent during the somber season of Lent.

Check out these five Mardi Gras and Carnival celebrations in the Americas to earn a spot on Cheapflights.com's Top 10 Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations.

  • Mardi Gras - New Orleans, Louisiana, United States - Thousands of tourists flood The Big Easy annually for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, deemed "the biggest free party on earth." The entire city loosens its (already loose) reins, and douses itself with endless strings of beads, colorful floats and costumes to celebrate the naughtiest time of year. Floats of all sizes roll through the streets in spectacular parades for two weeks prior to Mardi Gras. Endymion (Saturday), Bacchus (Sunday), Orpheus (Monday), Zulu (Tuesday morning) and Rex (Tuesday night) are the most famous of the parades, drawing rowdy attendees to partake in song and dance free of inhibition. Search and compare cheap flights to New Orleans.

  • Trinidad and Tobago Carnival - Trinidad and Tobago - Its vibrant history and French roots set the tone for Trinidad and Tobago's most significant celebration each year: Carnival. The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday draw the Caribbean destination's population to the streets to show off elaborate costumes that groups take months to create. Bands compete against one another for the title of Band of the Year as individuals vie to become Calypso Monarch, one of the greatest honors in the country. Search and compare cheap flights to Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Carnival of Brazil - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - There's really no comparison when it comes to Carnival celebrations when Rio is thrown in the mix. Brazilians take their weeks before Lent very seriously, putting on large-scale parades and festivities that in 2011 drew nearly 5 million people. The most famous holiday in Brazil features samba schools, or large groups of dancers and performers, who build spectacular floats and compete in one of seven divisions based on music, costumes and theme. Individual neighborhoods more and more are seeing smaller-scale parades, blocos, which feature drum parades, samba and other high-octane sights and sounds. Search and compare cheap flights to Brazil.

  • Quebec Winter Carnival - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada - Quebec City comes to life every February for the Quebec Winter Festival. Outdoor sports like snowboarding and dog sledding, snow sculpture contests and masquerade balls are all on the schedule each year as Canadians celebrate a winterized version of Carnival. Visitors bundle up during the coldest time of year for a reason: zip lines, concerts and ice skating make for tons of fun for kids and adults alike. Like with most pre-Lent celebrations, the parades -- both during the day and at night -- are the highlight of Quebec's ode to Carnival. Search and compare cheap flights to Quebec.

  • Mardi Gras - Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, U.S. - Though Orlando may not be the first town that comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras, Universal Studios puts on a celebration of beads and live music that the whole family can enjoy. For nearly two months on Saturdays and certain nights, the park entertains with headliners like Kelly Clarkson, and dishes up Cajun treats like jambalaya and shrimp gumbo -- a wonderful homage to New Orleans' French Quarter. Search and compare cheap flights to Orlando.

The festivities rounding out Cheapflights' list of top Mardi Gras celebrations are: Carnival of Binche - Binche, Belgium; Mardi Gras - Sydney, Australia; Notting Hill Carnival - London, UK; Carnival of Venice - Venice, Italy and Carnival - Montevideo, Uruguay. To read about these and Cheapflights.com's Top 10 Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations Around the World, visit www.cheapflights.com/travel-tips/mardi-gras-and-carnival-celebrations/.

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