Mardi Gras has an international reputation as the party day to end all party days, but the truth is that the beginning of the Lenten season is so much more than that. The month-long festivities begin on the Epiphany and until Fat Tuesday with colorful, extravagant parades of floats, dancing groups, costumed marchers, and more sponsored by dozens of lrewes, which are civic organizations that put on Mardi Gras parades and balls.

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