Did you think Mardi Gras was strictly a New Orleans thing? Think again.

In Belgium Mardi Gras is the most important day of the year. Belgians celebrate the Carnival of Binche in the city of Binche, which features lots of music and dancing.

Sweden celebrates Fettisdagen, translating to "Fat Tuesday."

In Canada Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the country, especially in the french-speaking Quebec, where the Quebec Winter Carnival is one of the most iconic of Canadian festivals.

In Germany the feast is called Karneval or Fastnacht, which means, "Eve of the Beginning of the Fast." Parades are held in several cities.

The Netherlands and Italy celebrate Carnevale for their pre-lenten celebration, actually a precursor to what is elsewhere celebrated as Mardi Gras, but it features the familiar masquerades and related fanfare.

All of these celebrations are loosely based on both ancient pagan ritual along with Christian pre-Lenten church tradition -- a time to celebrate before the fast. Some of the biggest celebrations occur in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Quebec, Mazatlan and of course, New Orleans. But pretty much any city colonized by Europeans will have at least a small parade.

Check out the below video from the Quebec Winter Carnival, where you won't see a single bead, but you will see the very Canadian Bonhomme Carnaval, the festivals jaunty mascot.

-- Contributed by Cole Stryker

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