The annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana, is often regarded as the largest and most famous celebration of that specific holiday within the pre-Lent period, with typically more than 1 million people attending the city's parades and festivities. In terms of worldwide celebrations, the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, may be the largest such festival on the planet. This celebration can involve more than 2 million people on each of the five days the Carnival celebration takes place after it begins on the Friday before Ash Wednesday. Both of these famous festivals involve loud celebrations and massive public parades.
Both New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Rio's Carnival include gatherings that feature costumed participants and huge, intricately decorated parade floats. Though the general themes are similar, each separate event has its own traditional iconography. New Orleans' celebration focuses more on masks, beads and specific colors (purple, green and gold), while Rio's festivities feature large numbers of women wearing elaborate costumes with spangles and gigantic feathered headdresses in a variety of bright colors. Rio's Carnival is also famous for its samba dancing competitions, which can include samba schools with thousands of identically dressed members.