With Fat Tuesday underway during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, take a look at the celebration along with the world's 12 other big parties as ranked by Forbes magazine.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans -- Mardi Gras is by far the biggest pre-Lenten celebration in the United States. Rex, the oldest day parade in the celebration, was founded in 1872 to help economic recovery during the Reconstruction.
Members of the Krewe of Bacchus parade down St. Charles Avenue the weekend before Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans in March 2011.
Grand Marshal Anderson Cooper celebrates during the Krewe of Endymion parade down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans in March, 2011.
Mardi Gras Galveston in Galveston, Texas -- Celebrated over two weekends, this party features live music from more than 25 bands, performing simultaneously on three stages in the historic district.
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -- Street festivities and music, partygoers dressed in elaborate costumes and countless balls held in nightclubs across the city are hallmarks of this crazy party.
Carnival of Binche in Binche, Belgium -- One of the oldest street carnivals in Europe, it features costumed balls, drum parades and the roving Mam'selles -- men dressed in elaborate feminine attire.
Carnival of Cologne in Cologne, Germany -- The climax of this street carnival is the parade on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, which features more than 10,000 participants, 440 horses, 97 floats and 123 bands.
Jamaica Carnival -- Jamaica's carnival was founded in 1989 by Byron Lee, a reggae star who had a vision for uniting the island in music.
Quebec City Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada -- Ice sculptures, night parades, slide runs and horse-drawn sleighs are all featured in this Canadian winter wonderland, which was founded in 1955.
Nice Carnival in Nice, France -- The Nice Carnival is characterized by flower parades and fireworks displays. Carnival celebrations were first recorded there in 1294.
Trinidad Carnival in Port of Spain, Trinidad -- The celebration is only two days long, but features calypso dramas, which are skits interspersed with music and narration, and theater and masquerade performances.
Carnival of Venice in Venice, Italy -- Revelers and partygoers crowd the streets in traditional Venetian masks each year, and street performers and musicians entertain.
Fastnacht in Lucerne, Switzerland -- Samba and mariachi bands, known as Güügemusig, dominate the streets during the week-long Swiss version of Mardi Gras.
Carnival in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands -- Carnival was celebrated annually in St. Thomas from 1952 onward, and today it is one of the biggest cultural celebrations in the Caribbean.