Mardi Gras is the annual Carnival celebration held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Beginning in January, New Orleans starts a variety of festivities that culminate with Mardi Gras Day, or Fat Tuesday -- the day before Ash Wednesday and Lent. For about two weeks before Fat Tuesday, residents and visitors alike enjoy dozens of parades with imaginative floats bearing costumed party-goers, who toss colored beads and other trinkets into the cheering crowds.
Keene Pumpkin Festival Oct. 22, Keene, N.H. It's not just trying to set a world record for most lit pumpkins - although there's that, too - the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival also features hayrides, a pie-eating contest, and a seed-spitting contest.
In Lerwick, the capital of Scotland's Shetland Islands, a fire festival named Up Helly Aa is held every January to mark the end of the yule season. Participants called guizers celebrate their Norse heritage, dressing in Viking gear and marching through town with battle axes and torches as they drag a ceremonial Viking longboat. At the end of the procession, the guizers hurl their torches onto the longboat and set it ablaze.